How to Effectively and Safely Plow Icy Roads

How to Effectively and Safely Plow Icy Roads

Heavy snow can present many difficulties for your plow team, but icy conditions present an entirely different set of challenges. Icy roads are one of the most dangerous and unpredictable places for your drivers to clear safely and successfully

However, plowing icy roads, while difficult, can be done effectively and efficiently by following these guidelines:

Use de-icing materials properly

Apply salt and/or de-icer before a snowfall. By proactively doing this, you can minimize the buildup of ice on roads, making it easier and safer to clear them. Note that as temperatures fall, you will have to increase the amount of melting material in order to adequately control ice build-up.

Use the right mixture

Snow removal experts agree that a mixture of two parts mixed ice melting materials (1:3 calcium chloride to salt, by weight) mixed with one part abrasive (cinder, sand or slag) is more effective than rock salt in melting snow and ice below 30oF. You will need about 150 pounds of this type of mixture to treat a 50,000 square foot surface.

Treat high priority areas

It is imperative to treat priority areas such as hills, heavy traffic areas, bridges and intersections first. Areas where snow may compact and adhere to the road surface can cause icy road conditions. When slush begins to stiffen and refreeze it will be necessary to plow again and reapply ice-melting materials.
Select the right equipment 

Select the right equipment

When faced with icy conditions, your team needs reliable equipment that can tackle the worst that Mother Nature has to offer. In extreme cold, the moving parts on an inefficient spreader can slow down or fail, leaving you unprepared. Using a powerful spreader, like the Meyer Medium-Duty V-Box Spreader, can help your team quickly and more effectively spread ice melting material so they can move on to tackle other jobs. 

Drive safely

Practicing safe driving habits is a must for any time your team is actively plowing, however, it is extremely important when there are icy road conditions. Drive slowly and be mindful of areas that freeze first such as bridges, overpasses, roads underneath overpasses, tunnels or along tree lined roads. Ice tends to form at night or in the early morning when temperatures are at their lowest points and when there is no exposure to sunlight. Always maintain a safe distance between you and other vehicles in case they begin to slide. If your truck starts to slide, take your foot off the gas (don’t apply the brakes), and turn the wheel in the direction you want your vehicle to go.

Icy roads are dangerous for all drivers but your team does not have the option of staying home. Before they head out, make sure they are adequately prepared!

Return to News & Blog