Let’s hope the concern has taught us some lessons

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The past few days have prompted a worrying turn of events that should alarm us all.

While a strike by tanker drivers was far from certain, the threat of it alone was enough to throw many people into a state of chaos.

It just goes to show how reliant we are on our cars – and how easy it is for our fragile economy to be rocked by even the possibility of shortages.

The government has a lot of serious questions to answer about the way it handled the situation.

It’s clear that mixed messages were to blame for some of the panic that ensued. The responsibility for that lies solely at the feet of those cabinet ministers who spoke out with some very ill-judged advice.

The emergency services have been quick to dismiss the idea that we should be stock-piling fuel in jerry cans at home.

But the seed of suggestion was equally quick to plant itself in people’s minds and further uncertainty did nothing to calm matters.

Motorists must also look at their own behaviour and consider whether their greed and selfishness caused an already precarious situation to escalate.

We shouldn’t need to be told by the police to keep the roads clear. Yet queues snaking out of some forecourts did create a hazard in other parts of the country.

While drivers haven’t always been on their best behaviour this week, we must give our hard-working garage staff some credit for the way they’ve conducted themselves.

Under challenging circumstances, they’ve kept their cool, coped with fraying tempers and managed to maintain control.

A strike is still by no means inevitable – and there certainly won’t be one over Easter.

But that doesn’t mean we won’t have to cope with worries about fuel shortages in future.

At the very least, we must make sure that this week has taught us some valuable lessons.

David Cameron’s government must ask themselves how they can keep the public informed without sparking a crisis.

And we must all ask ourselves how we can keep our cool.