Driving in the winter during a snowstorm is the worst. If you have a four-wheel drive car, you’ll have nothing to really worry about. However, what works best for getting people to their destination is not any kind of car, it is pallets of ice melt or rock salts. While Pallets of ice melt make the roads totally white, you’ll be able to safely get from point A to point B and in the end that is all that matters.
What are Rock Salts?
Traditionally, road rock salt or pallets of ice melt are made of halite, a natural mined mineral form of sodium chloride. Rock salt isn’t purified so it usually looks brown or greyish in color. Often times additives are added to the salt concoction which can greater add to how quickly snow or ice melts, along with preventing caking of the material itself.
How Does It Work?
You may be incredibly thankful for road salts and various pallets of ice melt, but do you know how it works? Sometimes it’s a good idea to understand how – and why – these solutions are applied to the roads and how you can expect them to work. Essentially, road salt lowers the freezing point of water via freezing point depression.
This is a process in which the salt breaks into component ions in a small amount of liquid water. The added component ions make it more difficult for the water to freeze, essentially lowering the freezing temperature of the water.
For this to work you need a small amount of water in the snow. This is where things get tricky. If the weather is too cold, there’s a good chance that there isn’t much water on the roads. There’s a good chance it’s all ice. Mix that with a concoction of road salt that can’t properly do its job, you’ve got a cocktail for dangerous driving conditions.
Ahead of the Curve with Pre-Brining
If your location is ahead of the curve, then, they’re usually pretty on the ball when it comes to prepping for cold weather. Few precautions are more important to the safety and productivity of a town than pre-treating streets with immanent cold weather. It’s common for more places to treat their streets with a solution of sodium and water. Most cities brine their streets before cold weather comes in.
Pre-brining helps prevent ice from forming and, luckily, reduces the amount of salt needed to treat roads in general. Once ice begins to form on the road, road salt is applied to streets in smaller bunches. It is mostly gravel sized or pea-sized rocks. On top of this solution, it can also be paired with a sand solution to further increase tracking during the winter months.
What Does this All Mean for You?
As it turns out, you don’t need a big rig or a all-wheel or four-wheel drive car to get around town during the winter months. With a simple understanding of how these ice solutions work, you can better plan your day or routes during the winter months. Pair that with knowing how the chemical solution and its pairings works with the ice and with your car, you’ll know what to expect every time you leave home.