A road where a least six cars skidded into fields was not gritted on the day of the crash, the council has admitted.

Brighton and Hove City Council said its gritters “would not have reached” Saddlescombe Road before Sunday's accident in which a woman was seriously injured.

The council said it had been gritting the road, near Devil's Dyke, for nearly a week prior to the accident and that black ice was “unlikely” to have formed.

But one Argus reader who said they had driven down the road shortly before the crash said: “The road was dangerous as it hadn't been gritted even though snow was forecast.

“I navigated that road ten minutes earlier and there was little a driver could do to control the skid. It was like an ice rink.”

Another person who saw the aftermath of the crash said: “It was easy to understand why the vehicles had ended in the place they were.

“The road was covered in ice, which made it slippery and hard to walk on. Members of the emergency services on the scene were also seen to be sliding and slipping.”

Between six and eight vehicles were involved in the crash which happened shortly after 3pm on Sunday and left one person trapped in the wreckage.

A spokesman for Sussex Police said that both Saddlescombe Road and Devil’s Dyke Road would be closed “for some time” while vehicles were recovered.

The Argus: Multiple emergency crews at the scene of Saddlescombe road crashMultiple emergency crews at the scene of Saddlescombe road crash (Image: NQ Staff)

When asked whether the road had been gritted, a spokeswoman for Brighton and Hove City Council said: “In response to the severe weather forecasts, we have been gritting Saddlescombe Road every day since December 6.

“On Sunday, based on the weather forecast, gritters left the depot at 3pm. As the accident happened just after, gritters would not have reached the area that day, prior to the incident.

“However, due to the amount of salt already on the road, it’s unlikely that black ice would have formed.

“We urge residents to avoid making car journeys unless absolutely necessary in snowy conditions. “

Roads across Sussex have become impassable in places due to the snow and icy conditions.