Winter is that time of the year to get outside, hike, ski, snowshoe, or enjoy beautiful snow-covered scenery. But the season also brings challenges, especially for those taking to the road. Reduced visibility and slippery conditions are some of the biggest threats drivers face. The risk of hydroplaning is also much higher during the wet season, especially when there is ice on the road.
Stocking up on ice-control sand could be one way to be safe behind the wheel this winter. This special sand makes icy conditions safer to drive on – especially if you live in an area prone to black ice in the winter months.
What Is Ice Control Sand?
Ice control sand is a coarsely-grained sand that is often dyed bright orange to be easily spotted on the road and in parking spaces. It is considered a solution to prevent ice from forming on roadways, bridges, and sidewalks. It works by reducing the freezing temperature of the surface water, which in turn reduces the likelihood of ice formation.
Ice-control sand is known by many different names: traction sand, anti-icing sand, and winter sand, to name a few. Ice control sand is typically made from silica, the same material found in sandpaper. Like sandpaper, the fine particles of silica found in this sand can remove water from the road’s surface. As it is applied, the sand also creates more space between the ice and the road, giving motorists more traction.
Some types of ice control sand come with a salt mixture, but this requires caution. These sand types can melt the ice but might also damage your car if it gets into moving parts. We also advise you to avoid beach sand, as it is too smooth and will not help properly.
Why use Ice Control sand?
Keeps surfaces safer for travel: Ice control sand is a proven agent that can prevent ice formation on sidewalks, parking lots, driveways, and roadways.
Reduces the risk of hydroplaning: When the road surface is slippery, there is a risk that your car will hydroplane. Hydroplaning can occur whenever your car travels at high speed, so it is not something that happens only in certain weather conditions. It happens when the water on a road is pushed into the car’s path, creating a seal that separates your car’s tires from the road. Ice control sand can prevent such an event.
General safety: Ice control sands can make roads safer for pedestrians, cyclists, and other road users. Besides making it safer for motorists, ice control sand also helps reduce the risk of cars sliding into other each other. Pedestrians and cyclists are at higher risk of by a car, as inclement weather can make automobiles more difficult to control do to poor road conditions.
How does Ice Control sand work?
When ice control sand is applied on the road and other surfaces the weight of the sand penetrates the ice and presses it down into a warmer, softer layer of ice or water so that it is not as slippery. The coarse texture of the sand also provides more grip to the surface so that your tires will have more traction and will be less likely to slide.
The sand is designed to be used in areas with ice or snow but not much water, like along the sides of the road. If there is water on the road, use the sand to create a barrier between the water and your tires. Water collects in the spaces between the sand particles, which creates a barrier between the water on the surface and the road. The sand also absorbs water, which further helps break the jet stream formed by the water flowing at high speeds on the surface. Using sand as a barrier can also help in areas that experience black ice – a thin layer of ice that forms on the road when temperatures are cooler than freezing.
How To Properly Use Ice Control Sand
Follow these tips to get the best out of ice-control sand:
Check the weather: Before applying the sand, ensure that weather conditions are conducive for its usage. It should be applied when outdoor temperatures range from 15 to 28 degrees Fahrenheit.
Apply in a layer of about 1/8 of an inch thick: The sand should be applied in a layer approximately 1/8 of an inch thick. Applying it in such a manner allows the water to drain while providing enough friction to keep vehicles and bicycles firmly grounded.
Use it with care: Use only as little amount of sand as necessary because it may be difficult to remove it from the road. Place the sand only in areas where you need it and not along the whole length of the road.
Storing it – Keep the sand in a sturdy, sealable container so that it doesn’t spill while loading or unloading from your vehicle.
Is Ice Control Sand safe to use?
Yes, ice control sand is safe to use. The sand is only slightly acidic (around pH 5.5) and is not likely to dissolve any metals or harm the environment. The orange dye in the sand may stain asphalt, so caution is advised while placing it.
Ice control sand is not only known for its effectiveness in controlling ice, but it’s also environment-friendly and safe for human contact. It is a better alternative to salt, traditionally used to control ice.
In Central Iowa, Legacy Materials is your local source for Ice Control Sand, DOT Certified Concrete Sand and Washable Fill Sand. We are located in Booneville, Iowa and provide flexible financing options to our customers. Legacy Materials is proud to be certified as a Women’s Business Enterprise by the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC). Stop by and give us a visit today or call (515) 432-7333 to learn more.