Knowing when to turn back

We have had a little snow today here in the UK and as usual, the media have gone into a tailspin over it. However, when bad weather hits, knowing when to turn back is extremely important.

My tracks on the road to Bowes
My tracks on the road to Bowes

I have only once ever set out on a journey and had to make the decision to turn back and give up trying to get to where I was heading. It was the right decision to make as well as the most sensible and safe decision.

Snow covered hills
Snow covered hills

In this information age, there really is no excuse for setting out on a journey when conditions are so bad there is a high chance of not reaching the destination.

So when I head to the hills, knowing I can get to where I want to be is the first thing on my mind. The roads I travel are often back roads and it could be several hours before anyone else passed by if I got into trouble. That requires a very real assessment of the road conditions using weather data, a frank and honest assessment of the capabilities of the vehicle I’m using as well as my own driving skills.

Time to turn back
The walls either side of the road are normally around 4ft tall.

Knowing when to make that decision to turn back is vital. After travelling back roads through snow for over an hour, I was eventually confronted by the scene above.

Getting out to inspect what was left of the tracks, I could tell they were likely to have been made by a 4 x 4 vehicle. (I was driving a two wheel drive car that day.) I also knew the walls on both sides of the road that appeared to be around a foot tall, were normally around 4-5 feet in height.

Turning back

I also knew that there were open drainage ditches on either side of the road that would add an extra two feet in terms of depth. However, with the snow cover, I couldn’t tell when the road ended and the drainage ditches started.

In short, I had reached the end of my journey for that day. Knowing when to make that decision stopped me from getting stuck on the hills and avoided a cold uncomfortable night in the car.

What to do if you do get stranded however, is a whole different story.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *