Snow brings spate of accidents

HEAVY snow flurries caused treacherous conditions on the region's roads last night - with more than 100 accidents reported across Suffolk and Essex.

Lizzie Parry

HEAVY snow flurries caused treacherous conditions on the region's roads last night - with more than 100 accidents reported across Suffolk and Essex.

Although forecasters are expecting the weather to improve today motorists are still being warned to drive with care because the freezing temperatures look set to continue.

Emergency services were inundated with calls last night as icy roads led to a large number of bumps and shunts, with the mercury plummeting to -4C in places.

By 6pm Suffolk Constabulary said they had received reports of between 50 and 60 snow related incidents - with that number doubling to more than 100 by the time of going to press.

It was a similar story in Essex, with police saying that had seen an increase in calls because of the weather.

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Around 7.30pm on the A14 at Haughley a white Suzuki swift was in collision with the central reservation.

Firecrews from Elmswell, Stowmarket and Needham Market attended and removed the roof of the vehicle.

A 17-year-old boy was taken to West Suffolk Hospital with a back injury but it was not believed to be serious.

Meanwhile around the same time emergency services were called to a four vehicle accident at the Crown interchange on the northbound carriageway of the A12 at Colchester.

No one was seriously hurt and those involved with assessed by paramedics before being moved.

Earlier on in the day a car was in collision with a garden wall in Foxhall Road, close to its junction with Kemball Street, in Ipswich.

The accident, which happened around 7.30am, involved three vehicles - a yellow Mercedes Sprinter van, a silver Mercedes and a black Mercedes A160.

The silver Mercedes collided with a garden wall but no-one was seriously hurt in the accident.

With the freezing conditions set to continue Chief Inspector Mike Bacon, from Suffolk Constabulary's Roads Policing Unit, urged motorists to drive with caution and respect the conditions.

“Rain, sleet and snow, plus dark mornings and evenings unfortunately mean more accidents on our roads,” he said.

“It is inevitable that the cold weather will make driving more hazardous, but there are a few simple precautions that any driver can take.

“Only undertake necessary journeys if it is icy and keep an eye on the weather forecast.

“If you have to go out, take a fully charged mobile phone and emergency clothing and warm drinks.

“Make sure your vehicle is up to scratch, with well maintained lights and tyres and carry de-icer. Importantly don't drive until the windscreen is free from frost or mist.

“Allow more time for your journey with additional stops en route, as winter driving tends to be more demanding. And if there are poor weather conditions and visibility, remember to slow down and use dipped headlights.”

It appeared as it train timetables were not too badly affected by the snow - with services delayed by just a few minutes.

Meanwhile Stansted Airport was not reporting that any flights had to be cancelled.

A spokeswoman for Suffolk County Council said the gritters were out in force treating all A and B (priority 1) roads and routes to main hospitals and fire stations. She said they were out from 2.30pm yesterday afternoon and would be out again from midnight in Ipswich and from 4.30am in the rest of the county.

However because of a nationwide shortage of salt no other roads would be treated - as directed by Central Government.

She also said that schools were unlikely to be closed today - unlike earlier on in the year when hundreds across the region were forced to shut because of the wintry conditions.

Last night Chris Bell, a forecaster with Weatherquest, which is based at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, said he did not thin the snow would continue.

However he warned that this morning would be clear and cold - meaning there was a danger of icy roads.

Mr Bell said daytime temperatures will only reach about 5C and overnight they will dip below freezing again, with conditions staying cloudy, cold and dull for the rest of the week.

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