With cold snaps getting worse, you may even be able to see snow in places that don't usually see it, such as Corsica in the Med'!
Further north, the icy Siberian blast claimed over 100 lives. It also caused massive disruption to transport. London's Heathrow airport, one of the busiest in the world, preemptively cancelled a third of all flights on the weekend of the 4th/5th. Italy ordered trucks off the roads for a week. European rail operators were advising customers to expect long delays.
One traveller used social media to tell his friends his flight from London to Bangkok was held on the tarmac at Heathrow. Meals were served, movies played, but the scenery out the window didn't change. They eventually were able to depart 8 hours after the scheduled time!
So if you HAVE to be somewhere in Europe during a big freeze and the trains and planes aren't running, it's tempting to hire a car and do it yourself.
Be warned, especially if you are unused to wintry conditions, driving can be really dangerous. You could spend 8 hours or more stuck in your car in a snowdrift – those movies and hot meals on the delayed Heathrow flight are starting to look like luxury!
Britain's AA has some excellent tips on winter driving, but here are a few of our own:
The first is to play it easy and even on both the brake and accelerator. Any sudden changes can cause you to lose grip. Set your speed before entering a corner. A change in velocity halfway through a turn could easily throw you into a slide so make sure you gear down or brake well ahead of the curve.
If you do start to skid, you'll retain more grip if all your wheels are moving, so back off the brake and stay away from the accelerator. The rule of thumb is to turn into the skid to try and get your wheels going the same way as you are.
If the back of the car is sliding, don't panic, just slowly and smoothly turn the wheel the way the rear is moving. Sometimes you might slightly overdo it and the back will lash out in the opposite direction like the tail of an angry cat. I think this why they call it fishtailing. Because cats like fish. Never fear if this happens, just keep gently correcting until you're back in line.
It might seem ridiculous, but pack extra clothing and warm blankets in the car. Put some snacks and water in the survival bag, maybe even a thermos of hot tea.
If you're renting a car, see if you can get one with GPS and an emergency ‘panic' button to summon help.
If you are stranded, stay with the car – it's your best chance of surviving. Outside temperatures, especially at night, will quickly cause hypothermia, and unless you find help quickly you'll be in deadly trouble.
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