It was without doubt my worst experience ever on the roads of Britain - a nightmare which frankly I should have seen coming.
As a child, I always loved snow - not any more.
I was collecting my mother from her home in Chorley but it was raining hard in Manchester when I set off from Granada's Quay Street HQ, so I told myself all would be fine - even though Jo Blythe, our weather presenter, had predicted heavy snow for the next few hours pretty much everywhere in our region.
The snow didn't seem to be sticking until I reached Standish on the M6 North, when the conditions started to change dramatically. I saw the aftermath of a multi-car pile-up on the Southbound carriageway but the roads still seemed passable. I put it down to bad driving and ploughed on.
On the way back, with my mum in the passenger seat, the first indication of the trouble to come was when I tried to join the slip road of the M6 Southbound at Standish or junction 27. Both carriageways were horribly snarled up. The Northbound wasn't moving at all and didn't move for the entire three hours that I was on the motorway.
We crawled a few yards at a time for what seemed like an eternity. The police were barely visible. People were getting out of their cars to see what the obstructions were. A few lorry drivers were taking what I thought were unnecessary risks by driving too fast on fresh snow - some people even tired to sneak down the hard shoulder. They all seemed to come to grief in a series of massive bottlenecks made up of jack-knifed trucks with cars trying to weave in between them.
I somehow managed to get into the tracks of a few intrepid motorists who succeeded in chicaning between the stranded hulks and broke out on to open motorway! It was an exhilarating but eerie feeling, like a scene from a post-apocalyptic film, driving in an uneven convoy down an otherwise deserted motorway. The Northbound was totally empty, save for one Vauxhall Astra facing the wrong way and its disconsolate driver having a comforting cigarette.
Then came the big mistake - the handful of cars in front of me turned off for Haydock and the East Lancs Road and, stupidly, I followed them instead of trying to reach the M62. I'm convinced I would have got home to south Liverpool an hour earlier at least if I had gone straight on.
The Haydock roundabout was a scene of carnage and chaos. I got stuck in a mass of broken down and abandoned vehicles, stranded lorries and people wandering randomly across the road. My wheels were spinning crazily and I thought mum and me were stuck there for the night!
But just the thought of that prospect spurred me to try to get through onto the East Lancs - the sliproad back to the M6 being blocked by two trucks.
After much wheel-spinning and profanity - for which I apologised to mum - I skidded through to the A580 to find it, like the M6, deserted. Luckily, an AA van overtook me and I was able to use its tracks to get all the way through to Liverpool.
By this time, it was raining hard. I have never been so glad to see rain! Snow and ice was turning to slush and an hour later, at about 1.30am - having set off just after 7.30pm - I wheel-spun onto my snow-covered drive.
That cup of tea on arrival was the best I have ever tasted!