Paramedics race to three crashes every hour as weather turns

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By Rory Reynolds

SCOTLAND’S wintry weather conditions saw mercy crews called to at least three road accidents an hour during peak periods yesterday.

The Scottish Ambulance Service said it had been bombarded with calls from morning to night as snow and gales closed in.

The Edinburgh, the Borders and Fife were worst hit, where paramedics raced to 19 accidents during the morning rush alone.

Later elsewhere, a fuel tanker jack-knifed on the A816 in Kilmelford south of Oban, leaving one man trapped.

The tanker collided with a land rover at around 2pm, with at least two people being taken to hospital in Oban.

Details were sketchy, but police said they were still investigating why the crash had happened.

Gritter

In northern Scotland ambulance crews were called to 12 separate road traffic incidents in the space of just a few hours.

In central Scotland, five people were injured, three seriously, after a gritter collided with three cars on the A9 near Dunblane on Tuesday night.

The Scottish Ambulance Service confirmed that it had attended 39 incidents from rush hour across Scotland by early afternoon yesterday.

A spokesman said: “There have been a large number of calls in the morning – but very few of those have been serious.

“Probably 75 per cent of those people were treated by ambulance crews at the scene.”

Storm

Emergency services were braced for conditions to worsen today and tomorrow.

Gavin Hill-Smith, spokesman for the AA, said that their services were seeing “the calm before the storm”.

He said: “The situation in Scotland hasn’t been as bad as we might have thought.

“However, there is the feeling that this is the calm before the storm.

“Our control centre is expecting things to get worse on Thursday and Friday certainly.

“The local authorities in Scotland have had a completely sustained strain on their services.

Inevitable delays

“Glasgow, Aberdeen and Edinburgh have been the busiest for our services, and particularly if you’re travelling on the central belt there will be inevitable delays.

“If there is less grit to go around, people will have to be wary of that when the set out.

“At the moment we have increased patrols and our services are dealing with everything from people getting stuck in the snow to lots of people sliding off roads.

“In particular we’ve been seeing cars sliding into the vehicle in front, especially in roundabouts.

Extreme

“People forget that stopping distances increase 10-fold and we advise drivers to expect the unexpected and plan their journeys carefully.”

Last night the Met Office’s issued flash warnings of severe or extreme weather across all parts of Scotland, listing heavy snow in all areas.

They said that there was at least an 80 per cent chance that there would be severe weather in all areas.

Earlier this week some councils admitted they had only enough grit left to treat roads for a few hours of heavy snow.

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