Drivers warned to travel only if ‘absolutely essential’ after surge in crashes

Motorists have been warned to only travel if ‘absolutely necessary’ after freezing weather conditions precipitated dozens of accidents.

Avon and Somerset Police received more the 100 reports of road-related incidents in a matter of hours on Monday night, with most caused by ‘treacherous driving conditions’.

Some 53 crashes were reported between 6pm and 11pm. Seven 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.’

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On Monday, the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) issued a level three cold alert in response to ‘severe winter weather’.

The Met Office has said all of England will continue to experience cold weather until 9am on Friday.

Forecasters issued a yellow warning for ice across southern England which is in place until 10am on Tuesday morning, with ice likely to cause difficult driving conditions.

A separate yellow warning for snow and ice is also in place in Cornwall and Devon until 10am.

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.’

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Just before 4.30am, Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service tweeted: ‘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.’

The Met Office has also issued a yellow warning for snow and ice across parts of Northern Ireland, north-west England and Wales from 12pm on Monday until 12pm on Tuesday.

Separate yellow warnings for snow and ice are in place in Scotland until 9am on Tuesday.

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Mayor of London Sadiq Khan activated the capital’s Severe Weather Emergency Protocol (SWEP) to provide emergency accommodation for rough sleepers on Monday, as temperatures in the city are expected to fall below 0C overnight.

The Met Office has warned 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.

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