Cold spells and snowfall may generate picture-postcard scenes over the festive period, but adverse weather can also cause danger for pedestrians - with slippery pavements, paths and driveways just some of the risks.

Slips, trips and falls are the most common types of accident day-to-day, and often result in nothing more than minor cuts and bruises.

However, thousands are admitted to hospital each year suffering more serious injuries after falls during wintry weather. And, elderly people are most at risk of serious injury.

Figures from Hospital Episode Statistics show there were 7,031 admissions to hospitals in 2012-13 as a direct result of people falling over on snow or ice.

With that in mind, The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) has issued some timely advice for people of all ages to follow when snow and ice are around.

This includes wearing suitable footwear, allowing extra time for journeys, and using grit bins provided by local councils to treat public areas not on gritter routes.

The elderly are urged to limit unnecessary journeys, request friends or neighbours to run errands for them, hold on to rails and other stable objects for support where possible, and wear extra layers to protect vulnerable parts of the body, such as the neck and spine, should they fall.

Laura Storer, serious injury solicitor at Thompsons Solicitors, said: “Trips and slips may sound minor but they are a major cause of injury during the winter period, and can lead to long-term disability and financial hardship.

“At Thompsons, we see first-hand the consequences of serious accidents that are often preventable with a little care and, where those responsible for public places have fulfilled their legal duty to take all reasonable steps to keep pedestrians safe, there will be no one to pick up the financial consequences. The aim has to be to take care, follow RoSPA’s safety advice and hopefully reduce the number of accidents that require hospital admissions this winter.”