Car smashes in Sheringham and Coltishall in icy conditions this morning (Friday January 26) were among dozens of collisions after Norfolk County Council failed to grit roads.
Two people were taken to hospital after the two crashes which were among 37 reported to Norfolk police this morning.
The council says its forecasting service did not predict there would be a freeze but says the gritters will be out tonight across Norfolk, from 7pm, with more sub-zero temperatures predicted.
This morning’s road chaos followed a light-hearted tweet yesterday from Norfolk County Council which said: “The sun has got its hat on, the weather’s mild and bright, the sun has got its hat on, there’s no gritting tonight.”
But in fact temperatures took a steep plunge overnight. Among smashes was a three-vehicle accident at 7.15am on the A149 Weybourne Road, Sheringham, involving a Ford Transit van, and Vauxhall Astra and Toyota IQ cars which blocked the road until just before 11am.
A woman was treated for back pain by an East of England Ambulance Service Trust crew and taken to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital for further treatment.
Earlier, just before 7am, emergency services were called to the B1354 Wroxham Road, Coltishall, where a red Renault Megane had left the road.
A man in his 20s was taken to the Norfolk and Norwich by ambulance suffering hip and head pain. His condition is not believed to be life-threatening.
A county council spokesman said: “We buy a weather forecast service from a specialist provider which we use to inform our decision on whether to grit, and also where and when.
“While it’s usually very accurate, the forecast for last night suggested road temperatures would not dip below freezing, so on this occasion we unfortunately didn’t have the information needed to send the gritters out. We’re sorry if some people experienced difficult journeys this morning.”
Earlier this afternoon the council tweeted: “Freezing temperatures forecast across the board tonight so the gritters will be going out on all county gritting routes – that’s more than a third of the county’s roads – at 7pm”.