Winter driving

6/25/2019 4:16:22 PM

3. Winter travel advice

Pedestrians and cyclists

The majority of footways are not routinely salted.

In times of prolonged icy weather, or when snow remains on the ground, we may treat major footways, such as main shopping areas.

Before setting out:

  • consider whether your journey is essential
  • always wear appropriate footwear
  • delay your journey if possible to allow temperatures to rise and ice or snow to melt
  • avoid footways in the shade, it takes longer for ice or snow to melt on these

Cycleways will normally be treated in the same way as footways. 

Don’t forget shaded cycleways are likely to remain icy longer than those in the sun.

In prolonged periods of icy weather or when snow remains on the ground, cycleways will be treated in a priority order depending on their use and accessibility.


Clearing snow and ice yourself

The Department for Transport (DfT) has published guidance about clearing snow outside:

  • your property
  • pathways to your property
  • public spaces

There is no law stopping you from clearing snow. If an accident does happen, it's highly unlikely that you would be sued as long as you are careful and use common sense.

People using areas affected by snow and ice also have responsibility to be careful themselves. If you are going to remove snow and ice, here are some tips:

  • it's much easier to clear fresh, loose snow compared to compacted ice
  • don’t use hot water - this will melt the snow but may replace it with black ice
  • be a good neighbour - some people may be unable to clear snow and ice on paths from their property
  • think where you are going to put it so that it doesn’t block people’s paths or drainage channels
  • make a pathway down the middle of the area to be cleared first to walk on
  • spreading table or dishwasher salt on the area you have cleared will help stop ice forming
  • avoid spreading on plants or grass
  • pay particular care and attention to steps and steep gradients
  • use the sun to your advantage - removing the top layer of snow will allow the sun to melt any ice beneath.
  • if there's no salt available, sand or ash are good alternatives


Print entire guide

Last updated: 25 June 2019

Was this page helpful?

Very poor
Neither good nor poor
Very good