Police are urging people to only travel if “absolutely necessary” after freezing weather conditions resulting in dozens of road accidents.
A level three cold alert was issued by the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) on Monday (16 January) in response to “severe winter weather”.
Avon and Somerset Police said early on Tuesday morning that it is advising the public to only travel if essential after receiving more than 100 reports of road-related incidents in five hours.
A total of 53 road traffic collisions were reported to police between 6pm and 11pm on Monday evening, with the majority being due to cold weather causing dangerous driving conditions. The force said seven of the incidents were reported to have resulted in injuries but they are not thought to be serious. A further 67 calls were received for other road-related incidents.
Superintendent Mark Runacres said: “We are advising the public to only travel where absolutely essential due to the treacherous driving conditions. 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. We are working with local authorities and National Highways to ensure roads are properly gritted ahead of the rush hour traffic to improve driving conditions.”
Elsewhere, at just after 3am Devon and Cornwall Police tweeted: “Police are urging drivers to travel with caution as heavy snow showers sweep across the region. #A30 Carland Cross near Newquay is currently blocked due to snow, Highways are aware. Please allow extra time for any journey and drive with care.”
Hazardous driving conditions were also reported in Cornwall, with Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service tweeting just before 4.30am: “We’ve had reports that vehicles are getting stuck in snow on the A39 at Trispen and A391 at Bugle. Please take extra care on the roads as driving conditions are hazardous. If necessary, pull over if it is unsafe to continue.”
Freezing conditions to last all week
The Met Office has said all of England will continue to experience cold weather until 9am on Friday (20 January).
A yellow weather warning for ice is currently in place across southern England until 10am on Tuesday morning, with ice expected to make driving conditions difficult. A separate yellow warning for snow and ice is also in place in Cornwall and Devon until 10am.
Forecasters have also issued a yellow warning for snow and ice across parts of Northern Ireland, north-west England and Wales until 12pm on Tuesday, and separate yellow warnings for snow and ice are in place in Scotland until 9am on Tuesday.
On Monday, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan activated the capital’s Severe Weather Emergency Protocol (SWEP) to provide emergency accommodation for rough sleepers as temperatures in the city are expected to fall below 0C overnight.
The Met Office is warning that “snow showers and icy stretches may bring some disruption” and could lead to longer journeys for drivers and train passengers. It said treacherous conditions could also lead to slips and falls on icy surfaces, and urged drivers and cyclists to beware of icy patches on untreated roads.