Travel nightmare: one Sussex Express reporter’s three hour journey home as snow blanketed East Sussex

Our comment
Our comment

As I walked to my car the roads in Lewes were safe and drivable, despite the constant dusting on snow which had fell on the town throughout yesterday.

It was around 5.15pm, and despite my colleagues suggestion still ringing in me ears to go straight home, I decided to go to the gym before making my way to Brighton and the warmth of house.

It was a huge mistake.

I stepped out of the gym at 6,40pm and the roads were now white and a blizzard was sweeping in from what seemed all corners of the carpark.

After scraping the windows I made my way out of Lewes along Southover High Street.

It was along here that the alarm bells started ringing. Softly at first, then as I made my way down Bell Lane and then Winterbourne Hollow, the ring of those bells began to get louder and louder.

The roads were completely covered in snow and motorists were already beginning to slip and slide.

I edged onto Brighton Road, my wheels spinning and the front of the car sliding.

I made my way to the A27 and from the roundabout heading west was fine. Motorists were being sensible and I felt confident of getting home with only a slight delay.

This was a huge underestimation.

I turned onto The Drove and the roads became noticeably more hazardous. The lack of traffic meant the snow had not been displaced as well as on the A27.

Then boom. Half a mile up the road cars were at a stand still. All apart from that is one driver in a 4x4 who simply turned the wheel and headed straight over a field, his red tail lights disappearing in the blizzard.

I later heard on the radio a motorcyclist had been in a collision with a car further down the road near Woodingdean. It was just one of hundreds of similar incidents reported that night.

I turned the car around and headed back for the safety of the A27 foolishly thinking it would be quicker.

Once on the road it was stand still traffic. Again a crash had caused traffic to halt.

We nudged along slowly. I took out a copy of an old Wisden cricket book. I knew now I was in for the long haul, cursing myself for going to the gym.

Thirty minutes later I reached Lewes Road. It would take me around another two hours of stopping and starting to get to the end of it. Another crash, apparently, in Brighton.

I praised the DJ on radio station Juice FM. He was doing his best to keep the blitz spirit going in his listeners.

Once in Brighton the traffic was moving a lot more freely. Apart from the odd car slipping and sliding the problems of the last couple of hours were behind me.

I finally stepped into my house at 10pm. More than three hours after I had started the journey.

This morning the drive took a little more than 20 minutes. A number of abandoned cars dotted along the side of the roads. A handful of motorists trudging along the roads.

In my head I praised the council’s gritters, who had done a fine job preparing the roads.

Tonight I will be driving straight home after work. The treadmill can wait for another day.