Efforts stepped up to prevent further road traffic accidents

Efforts have been increased by local councils, to prevent more accidents happening on the roads amid winter weather.

As Siberian weather hit Teesside this week, accidents were occurring on the roads as the county’s councils had not been prepared for such extreme weather. It led Cleveland Police to warn the public: “If you have to go out then take care, and try to avoid using your car. We have had multiple accidents across the county. There have been a lot of bumps and scratches and very slow journeys into work.”

The UK had seen the worst snow fall in over 18 years. The country practically came to a standstill with schools, airports, and motorways all closed in the chaos. Almost ten inches of snow fell overnight across most parts of Teesside. The Met office has issued an extreme weather warning with heavy drifting snow making driving conditions treacherous.

Middlesbrough Borough Council, alongside Redcar and Cleveland, and Stockton borough Council’s has been tirelessly deploying gritting teams. Grit wagons covered major roads and smaller, lesser used routes in outlying areas of the boroughs.

Councillor Bob Cook, Stockton Council’s cabinet member for transport and regeneration, said: “Our team of gritters are unsung heroes. They are out in terrible conditions making the roads safe for the rest of us and I’d like to thank them.”

The extreme weather caused Durham Tees Valley to cancel all flights on 2 February. The airport reopened the following day. A spokeswoman for the airport said: “We are slowly getting back to normal.”

Most airports across the country were forced to close or cancel flights. The chaos particularly hit London with thousands of passengers left stranded. A British Airways spokesman said: “We are doing all we can. We are offering refunds or rebooking customers and 2,500 hotel rooms were booked for people stuck. Every airline operating from Heathrow will have some disruption. We are very dependent on what happens with the weather and with heavy weather forecast it puts us in a very difficult position.” Many accidents have already occurred on Teesside’s roads amid the extreme weather. An Arriva bus overturned on the A173, near Newton-under-Roseberry, when it slid off the road after hitting black ice. John Fozzard, marketing manager for Arriva North-East, said: “The back of the vehicle left the road. We got a recovery vehicle out straightaway and recovered the vehicle. There were no injuries.” Other accidents that occurred across Teesside included a three car crash on Newport Road at around 9am with no injuries reported. Fire crews were also called to free a man from his car after a two-car collision on Wynyard road, Billingham. The man was taken to University Hospital of North Tees with serious injuries. With more bad weather expected, warnings have been issued across the country, to motorists in particular. They have been advised to only drive if absolutely necessary and to drive with extra caution. They are also being advised to take extra warm clothing, food and drink in case of getting stranded on long journeys in the heavy snow.

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