Readers' letters

Find out what our readers think of the stories making the Gazette headlines.

ROAD TO SAFETY

Dear Ed, – As Scotland faces further snow this week, there are calls for South Lanarkshire drivers to take extra care on the roads after the latest Government statistics showed that up to 95 per cent of the almost 17,000 accidents in Scotland involve some degree of human error.

Accident Claims Scotland believes that the gridlock on roads is caused largely by the inexperience of Scottish drivers and not the weather conditions.

We've seen some extreme weather conditions and ultimately there has been an increase in the number of road accidents. The bad weather is set to continue and motorists in South Lanarkshire need to become more efficient in driving in these conditions – we must stop blaming the snow for, what are essentially, accidents caused by the drivers themselves.

Other countries such as Sweden have a lot more snow than Scotland year after year. However their accident statistics during the winter months are a lot better.

In fact, latest figures show there are over 4,000 accidents in Scotland

between December and February. Of these, 100 result in fatalities.

Sweden has over 70cm of snow regularly during winter and yet a lower fatality rate average of 82 each year.

Accident Claims Scotland is calling on drivers to consider road conditions and adapt to the changes, keeping an eye on speed, distance and direction of moving traffic – the three most common human errors which lead to road accidents.

If you think you're not prepared for the weather conditions on the roads, don't risk it. Equally, drivers need to gain more experience behind the wheel during adverse weather conditions. With just a little extra care and practice, Scots should be able to reduce the number of accidents on our roads.

1. Decrease your speed and allow yourself plenty of space for stopping.

2. Brake gently to avoid skidding. If your wheels start to lock then ease off the brake.

3. Use your lights. This will increase your visibility to other motorists.

4. Don't go out until the grit trucks have had the chance to do their work, and allow yourself extra time to reach your destination. And don't overtake grit trucks.

5. Take extra care on bridges, overpasses and quiet roads, which will freeze first. Even at temperatures above freezing, if the conditions are wet, you might encounter ice in shady areas or on exposed roadways. – Yours etc.,

MARTIN HAGGARTY,

Managing director,

Accident Claims Scotland.

PLEASE, STAY OFF ICE

Dear Ed, – As the big freeze continues, PDSA vets are reminding dog owners about the dangers of frozen ponds and canals.

The leading veterinary charity is urging owners to stay away from frozen lakes, ponds and canals to prevent potentially fatal accidents.

Every year there are terrible stories about pets, and owners, who die or suffer injury after falling in to icy water. So we're reminding owners to keep their pets well away from frozen water and slippery banks.

If a dog falls into freezing water, the plunging temperature will quickly bring on hypothermia.

Seeing a pet struggling in cold water must be a terrifying experience for owners. But we urge them not to try to rescue their pets alone. This could result in them making a bad situation even worse, putting their life, and others, at risk.

The charity's vets also recommend dogs be kept on a lead during extreme weather. No matter how well trained your dog is, accidents can happen; even more so during dark nights and bad weather. They can slip into frozen water or run in front of cars traveling on icy roads. Keeping them on a lead while outside will help prevent such accidents occurring.

For more information on keeping pets healthy and happy visit www.pdsa.org.uk/pethealth. – Yours etc.,

SEAN WENSLEY,

PDSA Senior Vet.

IS IT GOOD FOR US?

Dear Ed, – It would appear that the staff and patients of Carstairs Surgery don't know what's good for them. Lanarkshire Health Board, even in this time of austerity, had decided to step in and save them, from their own foolishness.

Staff and patients come from many walks of life – babies to very elderly, some only very occasionally requiring a visit to the Surgery to others in dire straits needing constant care; labourers to professionals - all well catered for or so they all stupidly thought!

They erroneously thought that a visit to a GP then a walk across a hallway in order to pick up a prescription was a good thing. They erroneously thought that a visit to one of the clinics provided by the practice was a good thing.

They stupidly left their cosy houses on one of the worst winter nights of the year to get together in a hall in a bid to save the Practice.

They dared to send hundreds of letters to the Health Board and to MSPs, stupidly thinking that this would make a difference. They thought that their views would be taken into consideration. But NO! Carstairs Surgery is to go down the road of many dispensing rural practices.

Lanarkshire Health Board has obviously carefully taken everything into consideration – from the views of staff and patients concerning their 'one-stop-shop' for medical care to the very busy road that the patients will now have to cross to reach the unwanted pharmacy.

The Health Board knows what is good for staff and patients. The staff and patients don't. – Yours etc.,

NAME AND ADDRESS SUPPLIED.