THERE was chaos on Dorset’s roads on Monday morning with 31 crashes reported before 10.30am.

Police are calling for motorists to take extra care when driving in difficult weather conditions after the “significant increase” in collisions.

Thousands of motorists were delayed due the crashes, which took place during foggy and icy conditions, and a woman was taken to hospital.

On an average weekday, around four or five collisions are reported in the same time span.

A woman had to be cut free from her car in Wimborne after the vehicle overturned onto its roof.

Firefighters from Fordingbridge and Wimborne were called to Baileys Hill shortly after 8am to cut the woman out of the vehicle, a silver BMW registered to a man from Blandford.

The casualty was treated for minor injuries at Poole Hospital.

Less than half-an-hour later, fire crews were called again to a car on its side in Colehill Lane.

A woman was cut free from the vehicle. 

Further crashes were reported around the county from Bridport to Bournemouth.

Inspector Matt Butler of Dorset Police’s traffic unit urged motorists to drive carefully, adding: “We saw a significant increase in the number of collisions on Dorset’s roads this morning and, with freezing fog and ice again forecast, I would ask motorists to take extra care on the roads.”

A Met Office weather warning of dense and freezing fog was in force until 10.30am.

A new weather warning has been issued for freezing and dense fog overnight on Monday and into Tuesday morning

The warning is in place until 11am on Tuesday although conditions may persist into the afternoon.

The Severe Weather Emergency Protocol, which requires councils to provide overnight accommodation for rough sleepers during freezing temperatures, has been implemented. 

A spokesperson for Bournemouth council said that 10 people accessed the service each night over the weekend.

Local authorities in Dorset are sending out gritters to cover major routes.