Dozens of car accidents were reported Tuesday night across central and western Maine as drivers dealt with some of the first icy roads of the season.

According to Somerset County Communications logs, close to 50 accidents were reported across the county, starting shortly after 5 p.m. Many were reported minutes from one another. No serious injuries were reported.

Freezing rain made for slippery driving conditions and sent many vehicles off the road.

“We were inundated in a very short period of time with a lot of accidents last night,” Somerset County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Jim Ross said Wednesday morning.

“From Fairfield to New Portland, it was just accidents,” he said.

The four deputies on duty Tuesday evening were maxed out and Maine State Police assisted with the overflow, Ross said.

Most of the accidents were minor, but several people were taken to local hospitals with injuries that were not considered life-threatening, he added.

The rain Tuesday evening hit roads that were below freezing, and it immediately turned to ice, creating treacherous conditions just when many people were on the roads heading home from work and school.

It is common to have a series of vehicle accidents during the first storm of the cold weather season, Ross said.

“We go through this every year. People just have to slow down,” he said. “They drive like they do in August, and it just doesn’t work.”

It usually takes two or three storms for people to get used to driving in winter conditions again, he added.

“I noticed today that all the tire places were absolutely inundated with people getting winter tires on,” Ross said. “Most people wait until the last minute, and here we are.”

His department is bracing for more inclement weather Wednesday and Thursday. The National Weather Service in Gray predicts rain through Wednesday that could change to freezing rain and accumulating snow into Thursday.

The Franklin County Sheriff’s Office had four calls about accidents, but many more cars skidded off the roads in the slick conditions, and police departments in Farmington and Jay also had reports of crashes, Chief Deputy Steve Lowell said Wednesday morning.


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