Motorists in some parts of England are being urged to only travel if “absolutely essential” after freezing weather led to dozens of road accidents.
Avon and Somerset Police received more than 100 reports of road-related incidents in the space of just five hours last night – with treacherous conditions causing most of them.
Between 6pm and 11pm, a total of 53 collisions were reported to the force, and seven of these incidents reportedly resulted in injuries.
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While work is underway to properly grit roads ahead of this morning’s rush hour, Superintendent Mark Runacres said: “If travel is necessary, we ask the public to take extreme caution and allow additional time to travel.
“We have seen a significantly higher number of road-related collisions and incidents in the past 12 hours, which has increased the demand on police resources.”
Yesterday, the UK Health Security Agency issued a level three cold alert in response to “severe winter weather” – and according to the Met Office, the whole of England will continue to experience low temperatures until 9am on Friday.
A yellow warning for ice is in place across southern England until 10am today – with an additional yellow warning for snow in force across Devon and Cornwall.
Meanwhile, a yellow warning for snow and ice across Northern Ireland, North West England and Wales will expire at 12pm – and in Scotland at 9am.
Just after 3am, Devon and Cornwall Police tweeted: “Police are urging drivers to travel with caution as heavy snow showers sweep across the region.”
Officers confirmed that the A30 near Newquay was blocked because of the snow – with vehicles also getting stuck in snow on the A39 at Trispen and A391 at Bugle.
Britons are being urged to keep warm and check in on family and friends who may be more vulnerable to the effects of cold weather.
The UK Health Security Agency fears the plummeting temperatures could have a “serious impact” on people’s health – especially older people and those with pre-existing health conditions.
“If you have a pre-existing medical condition or are over the age of 65, it is important to try and heat your home to at least 18C if you can,” the UKHSA’s Dr Agostinho Sousa said.
For people struggling to afford heating bills, Simple Energy Advice provides free advice on energy efficiency and national grants that are available.