Black ice warning issued after dozens slide off roads

Police have warned motorists to be careful on the roads PIC: Lachlan Bence

Police have warned motorists to be careful on the roads PIC: Lachlan Bence

BALLARAT emergency services scrambled across the region to tend to dozens of car accidents caused by black ice.

Ballarat Highway Patrol Senior Constable Tony Creanor said 26 incidents were reported to police, with cars sliding off roads on Saturday morning.

He said the accidents occurred between Bacchus Marsh, Beaufort, Trentham and Meredith.

An elderly couple was taken to Ballarat Base Hospital after the car they were travelling in slid off the road and struck a tree in Elaine. 

They were reported to be in a serious but stable condition after sustaining chest, leg and arm injuries.

Senior Constable Creanor said motorists could expect to encounter black ice over the next week, especially Sunday morning where the overnight low temperature was expected to sink to minus three degrees.

“We just ask that every one drives carefully to conditions. We understand that black ice is not readily visible,” Senior Constable Creanor said.

“It is a timely reminder to make sure motorists check that their tyres are safe and put headlights on when visibility is poor.”

Ballarat experienced its coldest day in 20 years on Friday, prompting emergency services to warn motorists of black ice.

Senior Constable Creanor said patches of black ice were still on the roads at 1pm.

Ambulance Victoria spokesperson John Mullen said paramedics had attended several jobs on their way to work after cars slid off the roads.

He said paramedics who were on their way to work came across a number of jobs and stopped to render assistance. 

“People just have to slow down. Motorists must drive to the conditions,” he said.

Fire crews also attended a car accident at 7am on the Gillies Street overpass at the Western Freeway. 

Weatherzone meteorologist Ben McBurney said Friday’s top of 4.5 degrees was the coldest Ballarat day since 1994.

“To put it simply, Ballarat had a very strong cold front. That cold front has left a cold air mass in the wake and that’s why we are experiencing a number of cold nights and a number of cold days,” Mr McBurney said.

“It’s probably the coldest air mass we’ve seen for a few years.”

He said Ballarat could expect a couple more sub-zero nights before conditions returned to normal.

“On Tuesday the weather will get to 11 degrees. Night times will be a bit warmer and minimum temps of one and two through the week which is below average,”he said

“A night-time temp of minus three degrees in August is not unusual. It happens a few times each year.”

Ballarat is expected to reach a top of 10 degree today with morning frost and light winds throughout the day. 

Temperatures are set sit at 11 degrees through to Thursday.

david.jeans@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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