The majority of Illinois is currently dealing with ice covered roads even though road crews are working hard to get them salted, so why isn't the salt working?

No Tolerance for Icy Roads

Today is one of those days where I am extremely grateful for technology and the ability to work from home.

Everywhere I look I see skating rinks; my driveway, my deck, and all the roads in my neighborhood. As a born and raised Illinoisan, I should have excellent winter driving skills, but I do not, and driving on icy roads is more than my nerves can take.


Illinois road crews have been hustling to salt the roads as fast as they can today, but many are still ice covered, so make sure to proceed with caution if you have to drive somewhere.

Why Is Salt Sometimes Ineffective on Illinois Roads?

Basically, salt lowers the freezing point of water, but it is far less effective when temperatures fall below 25 degrees.

Here's why according to a Spectrum News 1 article;

When temperatures are that cold, the salt simply can't get into the structure of the frozen water or ice to start the dissolving and melting process.


High temperatures are expected to be in the low to mid 30s throughout Illinois today, so salt on the roads should do a great job battling ice according to science, but why are  a lot of roads still completely ice covered? I think there are 2 reasons why:

  1. The obvious answer; some roads have not been salted.
  2. The scientific answer; thanks to the frigid temps of the last few weeks, the road surface on many roads is colder than the air, so precipitation is freezing almost instantly.

The slightly good news is; temps will be a little warmer over the new few days in Illinois, so this snow/ice mess should start to melt a little...BUT then we'll have to deal with sloppy, slushy messes. Yay.

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