Salt has always been applied to roadways since it lowers the freezing point of any water it comes into contact with. Traditionally, this was accomplished by applying solid rock salt before and after snowfall to reduce ice and snow. However, this strategy is only effective when temperatures are above 15 degrees Fahrenheit.
Crews are now using more effective measures to prevent dangerous road conditions. Using salt brines, which is any liquid salt mixture, before anticipated snowfall was discovered to be more effective than using solid rock salt.
Brines have the same melting characteristics of solid rock salt, but since it is applied in liquid form, the salt can begin to work immediately. The brines are also more effective in lower temperatures.
Using salt brines proves not only to be more effective on roads, but it is also cost effective. It takes four times less salt to prevent ice accumulation than to remove ice after it has formed.
Anti-icing is currently recognized as a pro-active approach to winter driver safety by most transportation agencies. Pre-wetting [using salt brines] has been shown to increase both the performance of solid chemicals and abrasives, as well as their longevity on the roadway surface, thereby reducing the amount of materials required.
Combined with accurate weather forecasts, anti-icing is a more proactive technique for winter transportation safety. Brine provides improved road surface conditions and allows for safer travel.