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Best Ways to Combat Ice

Apparently, there is no way for the East Coast and the Midwest to escape the Polar Vortex and reports continue regarding unsafe and icy conditions from all points east of the Rockies (except for you, Florida.) Snow and ice create all kinds of hazards and when they’re combined with severe low temperatures things can get really bad really fast. Of course, most of this is prologue to a problem that has been here for a while, but we didn’t think it would hurt to rate the best and worst ways to combat ice. <strong>Sand vs. Salt</strong> A quick Internet search to find out whether sand or salt is better for improving traction in icy conditions will lead you to no small amount of bet hedging and waffling. The only conclusion is that the salt lobbyists and the sand lobbyists are in cahoots. The easy answer comes down to temperature. Salt works by lowering the freezing temperature of water, but <em>it won’t work as intended</em> in temps colder than about 15ºF. Conclusion: Use sand, Minnesota. <strong>Deicer</strong> What is deicer, besides a really weird word that looks nothing like how it sounds? Deicer is the chemical alternative to all this salt vs. sand hubbub. They may be chloride variants (e.g., potassium chloride and calcium chloride) not too unlike salt, acetates or sulfates, and are very effective – even at low temperatures. The downside is that some of them can be more corrosive than salt, or may be better at preventing re-icing rather than deicing. <strong>Sawdust</strong> … is a last resort. It will marginally increase traction on ice directly after it’s applied, but it quickly loses effect unless you’re using literal truckloads of it. It’s better than nothing, but it’s not really worth buying. Of course, the best defense is a good offense of shoveling and/or plowing, but if we’ve learned anything it’s that a passive-aggressive approach to the Polar Vortex is sometimes the only approach. <a title="ATG Stores Homepage" href="http://www.atgstores.com/default.aspx" target="_blank">ATGStores.com</a> wishes you well during this wild time of winter weather.
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