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Winter Safety Awareness: How does salt help icy roads?

Published: Monday, November 12, 2018 @ 9:51 AM
Updated: Wednesday, November 14, 2018 @ 10:00 PM

Meteorologist Molly Coates explains how salt helps with icy roads

Winter Safety Awareness Week is underway, in time for this week’s wintry weather.

>> LIVE Doppler 7 Interactive Radar

With a wintry mix and snow expected Thursday, motorists should be prepared to use caution while driving.

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Icy road conditions can form when rain has fallen and freezes upon contact, causing dangerous driving conditions. Water freezes at 32 degrees.

>> Snow pack and the affect on temperatures

Salt is one method to prevent and treat icy roads. This method is helpful because salt lowers the freezing point of water, which will lead to melting of the ice. It also prevents falling rain or snow from being able to freeze. 

At 30 degrees, one pound of salt will melt 46 pounds of ice in 5 minutes, Storm Center 7 Meteorologist Molly Coates said.

However, salt can become ineffective when the air temperature reaches 15 degrees and below, Coates said.

Magnesium chloride and calcium chloride are used in colder conditions.

Driving on icy roads can be scary, always remember to take it slow.

Stay weather aware by downloading the Storm Center 7 Weather App, which can notify you when bad weather is on the way.