BLACK ice caught out many motorists during rush hour yesterday morning as cars ended up in hedges, ditches or trees.

Wiltshire Police urged drivers to be careful and even reconsider whether their journey was necessary after they saw an unprecedented number of incidents across the county over a three and a half hour period.

Black ice had formed overnight on many roads, particularly in rural areas, which police said they put down to rain washing away the grit which had been spread on the roads to counter the recent snow.

Between 5.30am and 9am there were 55 reported collisions, 13 of them in the Swindon area.

These included 28 crashes that resulted in minor injuries. In 25 collisions, drivers escaped injury altogether.

Five cars hit hedges, 17 ended up off the road or in a ditch and six hit trees.

At Hook opposite the Bolingbroke Arms, a Renault Megane lost control on an icy patch and landed nose first in a bush, while a silver Vauxhall Astra lost a rear bumper as it skidded off the road and over a ditch.

It was also hazardous for those on two wheels, with one young rider needing hopsital treatment for a suspected broken ankle after he slid off the road on a moped at 6.51am on Peatmoor Way.

Another man was shaken but uninjured after his motorbike collided with a car in Broome Manor.

Police liaised with the Highways Agency and council partners to work on the worst affected areas and conditions improved later in the day as the thaw continued.

Supt Nick Ashley said: “We had an unprecedented number of road traffic accidents yesterday morning.

“Thankfully, although there have been some injuries, these have not been serious but it is only a matter of time if motorists do not take care on the roads.

“After the heavy rain most of the grit that was placed on the roads during the snow has been washed away by the rain, this has then frozen and left black ice all over the roads.

“This can make roads extremely dangerous and I am urging motorists to take care or even reconsider travelling during early morning.”

Drivers need to continue to take care as the Met Office is forecasting strong winds and persistent rain tomorrow