New travel advice issued as big freeze continues
Thursday 07 January 2010
The prolonged cold snap in Europe, America and Asia and heavy snowfall in some areas has prompted several organizations to issue guidance on travel.
The American Society of Travel Agents is advising travelers to plan ahead, leave extra time and consider extra insurance in case flights are cancelled. Several airports in Europe and America are experiencing problems due to the freezing conditions, with significant disruption in the UK, France, the Netherlands and the Irish Republic. Beijing International Airport is now functionally normally following Sunday's blizzard, the country's heaviest snowfall in 59 years.
"As anyone who has read the news lately knows, travelers this winter are facing an increasing number of hurdles and challenges from weather delays to security issues," said Chris Russo, ASTA president and chair. "Now more than ever, an ounce of prevention is worth hours in line."
Several sources have also advised drivers to take extra care when setting out in wintry weather. Tire manufacturer Bridgestone Americas is warning drivers that they should consider winter tires, a legal requirement in some countries, have their batteries tested and replace wiper blades.
"Even new batteries can lose as much as 40 percent of their cold-cranking ability in cold weather," advised Mark Cox, general manager of Bridgestone's Winter Driving School. "Car problems that are a nuisance in the summer can turn dangerous in the winter. A thorough check of the cooling, charging, braking and suspension systems is a must."
The British Institute of Advanced Motorists also warned diesel users Wednesday that their fuel could wax over in conditions below -15°C, potentially damaging their vehicles.
GPS Manufacturer TomTom calculated that there were over 2,700 traffic jams in Europe on the morning of January 6. UK roads were among those hardest hit, with 4,318 miles (6949 km) of jams and slowdowns compared to 2,456 on January 5. France suffered 664 traffic james and the Netherlands 213. The longest reported slowdown was in France, a two-and-a-half hour delay on the N104 motorway south of a snow-covered Paris.
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