INTERVIEW: Truck driver freed from Sweden's snow gridlock after 20 hours

Richard Orange
Richard Orange - [email protected]
INTERVIEW: Truck driver freed from Sweden's snow gridlock after 20 hours
Traffic trapped at Linderöd, Skåne, on Thursday morning. Photo: Johan Nilsson/ TT

The self-employed truck driver Niclas Nordström was trapped by snow on Sweden's E22 motorway for a full 20 hours on Wednesday and Thursday, in what he told The Local were the worst weather conditions of his 30-year career.


Nordström, who has run his own road freight business since the 1990s, said he had wrongly expected the blocked traffic to have been cleared when he took the E22 on Wednesday, discovering his mistake along with around 1,000 other drivers when he ground to a halt around Linderöd at about 1.45pm. 

"The reason for the jam had happened a long time earlier, so I just assumed the police would have already stopped the traffic and diverted them onto other roads," the 58-year-old told The Local. "But I didn't really do much thinking at all. If there had been a bit more quick-thinking going on, this would never have happened. There wouldn't have been such long queues."  

Up to 1,000 vehicles were left stranded on the E22 road between Hörby and Kristianstad as a blizzard battered the country, with the Armed Forces dispatched to help people evacuate their cars and deliver food and water to those who were still stuck.


Nordström's truck only has a so-called day cab, meaning there's no bed, and he had to sleep sitting upright at the wheel, but he was still in a better situation than those in passenger cars. 

Even so, as he was on his way to Lund in Skåne and then home to Olofström in neighbouring Blekinge county when he got stuck, he had no food or medicine in the truck, and had to rely on the help of others. 

"There were all sorts of people there. I got friendly with a couple from Holland who helped me the next day. I told them I was extremely hungry so they invited me in for coffee and a sandwich." 

He says he spent the night looking at the website of the Swedish Transport Administration to find out when the road would be opened again.

"And it just kept being pushed forward the whole time. First it was 8 o'clock in the evening, then it was midnight, then it was 2am, and then 2pm the next day."  

In the end, at about 10am, the Dutchman got help from a local farmer, who cleared a three-metre-wide passageway in the snow, through which they both left the motorway. The two of them then drove down the opposite lane in the wrong direction, flashing their warning lights, until they made it onto a passable road. 


"We both drove out through the opening, both the Dutchman and me. We drove against the traffic so-to-speak, but there was no traffic there so it wasn't dangerous. It was only because we took our own initiative that we got out. Otherwise we'd still be there." 

As Nordström mainly drives in the southern counties of Skåne and Blekinge, he has never encountered anything like the snow conditions he came across on Wednesday. 

"I've never, ever, ever been in anything like this and I've been driving for 30 years. There hasn't been such bad weather in Skåne since 1979 or whatever it was, when the whole of Skåne was snowed under." 


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