Irwin Mitchell Warns Drivers and Pedestrians to Take Care when Out and About This Winter

Have the icy roads been gritted?



It's that time of year again when the days are darker which can make driving more perilous. Unfortunately, as the weather conditions deteriorate over the next few months driving becomes increasingly dangerous.

Not all roads are gritted by Local Authorities which results in more road traffic accidents. If you as a driver of a vehicle have an accident due to icy or snowy conditions that could easily have been avoided because of a failure to grit the road, then a personal injury claim may be brought.

Each Local Authority has a responsibility to provide safe roads and footpaths during hazardous winter weather. Therefore, as thousands of us travel across the country this winter to visit family and friends, we need to remain alert on the road. Whilst we accept that not every road can be gritted, Highway Authorities have a duty to show that their winter gritting regime is adequate.

Every year a high volume of people are killed or seriously hurt in road traffic accidents due to ice and snow. Gritting is now a legal requirement and therefore, the Highway Authorities will ensure that gritting is carried out and the roads are maintained this winter. Failure to do so could result in the Highway Authorities being taken to Court. Although many roads are gritted, there are instances where many are forgotten.

Irwin Mitchell's advice to motorists this winter is to take care and drive slowly.

Until October 2003, Section 41 of the Highways Act did not provide for any failure or omission by the Highways Authorities to grit a road or footpath. However, since the 31 October 2003, it is now the responsibility of the Authorities to provide safe roads and footpaths following dangerous winter weather.

Local Authorities are also under a duty to maintain public paths and roads and therefore, as a pedestrian you are owed a duty of care. This duty of care is to keep paths and roads clear of ice and snow and to take preventative measures to keep the surface upon which pedestrians are travelling reasonably safe.

Irwin Mitchell are often asked to advise people injured due to the hazardous road conditions or because of the failure to clear path and pavement on public highways and private land.

If you have been involved in a road traffic accident as a pedestrian, our specialist road traffic accident solicitors could help you to claim compensation. See our Pedestrian Accident Compensation page for more information.