AS a nation, we learned some interesting lessons about ourselves during last week’s snow.

True, Bolton was not hit nearly as badly as other areas of the country, including parts of Bury. But, there was disruption and problems for individuals and communities before the snow finally cleared.

Some areas had real difficulties – cut off villages, shortages, closed roads, people being airlifted to safety or for medical treatment, and all kinds of journeys, from car to rail to road and air, having to be cancelled.

What we discovered about ourselves was, on the one hand, a fascinating mixture of complete unreadiness, denial and impatience. On the other, we exhibited traits of stoicism, caring and kindness as well as practical planning and organisation.

First of all, we learned to take heed of weather warnings. They weren’t kidding and, for many of us, we should have planned ahead and genuinely considered journeys – whether or not they were necessary and whether or not we were prepared (in every sense of the word) to be stuck in queues, sometimes for hours or overnight.

The size and intricacy of the road network on this small island of ours lends itself to potential problems when snow falls in large amounts. The gritters and snow ploughs did their best but nature is a fearsome thing and the battle became a bit one-sided.

We learned that we panic easily. Queues formed in supermarkets often when the weather wasn’t going to maroon people in their homes. Bread and milk became the new currency. Perhaps we should have stocked up on the basics before this?

Then there is people’s attitudes to the results of Snowmageddon. When a road says “Closed” it’s probably because it’s impassable. Those self-righteous drivers who got stuck on them just over-burdened all the rescue services.

We all have to drive differently in snow – better, slower and much more carefully. Trying to speed through snow just causes accidents.

On the positive side, residents in places around Rochdale, for example, brought much-needed food and drink to stranded motorists on the M62. They grabbed what they could and trekked in very difficult conditions to the queues in a spontaneous act of kindness which was echoed in many other communities.

NHS staff trekked miles to ensure patients could get treatment and many conscientious souls did the same to get to their work. This was all the right spirit at its best.