It's past time to pre-treat the surfaces to prevent ice build-up. So decide if the surface is safe enough to stand on and, if you feel you're healthy enough, several hardware stores recommend that you use a sharp-edged shovel or hoe to crack the solid ice.
If thick ice has been allowed to build up, then a shovel is not the best tool to break it up. Many stores now sell ice chippers, tools which will break up ice, allowing them to be shovelled away. But be careful, as too much force could see the driveway damaged.
If the ice patch is small, pour hot water into the cracks and immediately shovel the melting ice off the surface. The water will freeze quickly so maybe get a friend to shovel while you pour.
If you don't want to use hot water and risk creating more ice, Ace Hardware suggests buying rock salt (sodium chloride), the easiest, fastest and cheapest way to make ice go away.
But Ace warns that with everything good comes some bad, as rock salt can damage plants and, over time, can cause concrete to heave and crack.
Officials at the Cleveland Botanical Garden say that salt kills the roots of plants and makes it impossible for them to absorb the nutrients they need. It also washes into streams and waterways and can affect aquatic life.
Homeowners might be looking for green or pet-friendly alternatives to harmful salt and chemical de-icers but those alternatives don't come cheap.
At Home Depot, a 50-pound bag of Halite Salt Crystals is about $5.50. A 50-pound bag of Prestone Driving Heat calcium chloride pellets that are less harmful to vegetation and don't leave white residue is $15.97 for a 50-pound bag.
Petsmart employees recommend products like Safe Paw Ice Melter, which is also a green, no-salt ice melting product that's safe for pets. It's available online and at Wal-Mart, Petsmart and other stores.
Ace Hardware suggests the no-salt Road Runner Pet-safe Premium ice melter at $14.99 for a 20-lb. bag.
For those who want the fastest ice-melter, regardless of the cost, Ace employees suggest Qik-Joe De-Icer, selling for $33.99 for a 50-lb. bag. It contains calcium chloride and works in weather up to 25 degrees below zero.
Ace Hardware De-Icers