Nurse relives crash drama as calls for road to be gritted grow
- Credit: Emma Hall and Glenda Stafford
A nurse and mother whose cars spun off a busy link road during icy spells have backed a petition for it to be added to council gritting routes.
Glenda Stafford and Emma Hall have joined Nicky Gilkes, from Blossoms Childcare Nursery in West Raynham, in pleading with Norfolk County Council (NCC) to add Station Road to its gritting route.
Calls have been made for the road - which is between Raynham and East Rudham - to be added to the gritting route after reports of a number of crashes.
Ms Hall and Mrs Stafford have had their own terrifying experiences on the road, where ice has played a big part, and both say they dread cold weather hitting the region.
However, NCC's highways services manager, Karl Rands, said the road is not a priority as police had attended just two incidents on it in the last five years.
Mr Rands said restrictions meant another road would have to be removed from the gritting route before Station Road could be added.
County councillors, Tom FitzPatrick and Michael Chenery, have also requested the road be added to the route, and offered to use some of their local member highways budgets to meet additional costs.
Mr Gilkes' petition has attracted around 450 signatures as he continues to push for action.
Mrs Stafford, a nurse from West Raynham, flipped her car while driving home in cold and icy conditions.
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The 57-year-old was behind the wheel when her Peugeot flipped while travelling on the road from Holt on January 23, 2021.
She travelled home using Station Road, as despite it taking longer, it reduces the time on ungritted roads.
“I hit a patch of ice and slowed right down and managed to correct myself. I thought, ‘phew that was a near miss’,” she said.
“I was doing no more than 20 to 25mph, and then, almost immediately, hit another. I thought, ‘I’m not getting out of this.’
“My car zig-zagged, and was going towards the grass verge. I hit it, and then spun over once, maybe twice. As it was doing that I thought, 'oh gosh I’m going to get home quite late'.”
She thought that someone in the houses nearby would have heard the crash, but there appeared to be no movement.
Her mind shifted, and she quickly realised how cold it was getting, and the worry of hypothermia took over.
Luckily, she had tucked her phone in her bra, rather than her bag, and was able to call Marcus, and eventually the emergency services.
She hailed the ‘fantastic’ response from the key workers, walking away from the incident with a few bumps and bruises.
The nurse said she and her neighbours are frightened to drive on the road: “I am absolutely dreading it if we have an icy day and I have to go to work or come home.
“There are people who live here who will refuse to drive on the road as they are so frightened of it.
“I cannot let the weather stop me from doing my job, if there is something that can be done to make that road safe it would be so helpful and beneficial.
Ms Hall, whose daughter attends Blossoms, also recalls being involved in an incident on the road.
The 33-year-old, from Fakenham, pulled onto Station Road and was going around a corner when she skidded on black ice in December 2021.
She and her four-year-old walked away, with the car ending up on the grass verge. She was left with a £3,000 repair bill.
“I was barely going 20mph, and once I lost control of the car it all seemed to go into slow motion,” she said.
“There was another car coming the other way, and I was praying that I did not hit them.
“It was a really scary experience for us both, if we still had that car I would choose not to drive it.
“If I look out the window, and see the car needs deicing, my heart sinks.”
On icy days, she gives herself an hour to make the journey to the nursery and back.
Despite her concerns, Ms Hall said if the weather is bad she just “pulls herself together”.
She said if the road was gritted, it would put her at some ease: “It would give me that peace of mind, knowing that I still have to drive in these conditions, but the road has been treated and won't be as treacherous.
“I want my daughter to go to nursery and, I do not want Blossom to suffer because of its location.
"It’s not fair they would be overlooked simply because the road is too treacherous to drive on.
"The council have an obligation to Blossoms as a business to make it as safe as possible."