A new menace is threatening to cause serious accidents on Sussex roads.

Scores of motorists have been caught out by the potentially fatal combination of windscreens clouded with salt from gritter lorries and frozen windscreen washers.

Even washes containing anti-freeze agent are failing to stay liquid in the Arctic temperatures.

Cars littered the hard shoulders of the A27, A23 and M23 during morning rush hours this week as drivers stopped to wipe windscreens.

Sussex Police issued an urgent warning. A spokeswoman said: "It is extremely dangerous at the moment, especially during morning rush hours when windscreen washers are more likely to be frozen solid.

"We must point out to drivers that it is an offence to drive a vehicle with windows obscured by dirt or anything else."

The AA said the problem was nationwide. Even its Press officer, Louisa Dean, was caught out.

She said: "It's a nightmare and I'm having to stop every so often as I drive to work.

"I carry a bottle of water in the car with me each day now so I can clean my windscreen.

"Unfortunately, there is not much you can do to unfreeze your washers. Ice normally clogs up the rubber tubes and you just have to wait for it to thaw."

The AA is urging drivers to increase screen wash content and to drive more carefully.

Miss Dean said: "Leave a bigger gap between you and the vehicle in front to avoid salt being kicked back on to your windscreen.

"If you need to stop, make sure it is somewhere safe. Be prepared and take a bottle of water with you."

She warned drivers they could face fines of up to £2,500 if their windscreens were obscured.

She said: "Drivers should ensure registration number plates are kept clean at all times as well.

"They can face fines of up to £500 for dirty plates."