As temperatures are dropping and the roads start to get icy, Park City citizens are starting to prepare for winter driving. Throughout the winter, it’s common practice to pour road salt on streets and driveways, which is by far effective in creating less icy driving conditions. “By lowering the freezing temperature of water, salt prevents snow from turning to ice and melts ice that is already there,” says Jenny Gross with the New York Times. However, recent speculation by scientists has shown that road salts have very harmful environmental effects. Salt is carried with water runoff in the Spring into rivers, lakes, and the reservoirs we drink from. High concentrations of salt have been found to negatively impact plants it encounters. It may seem small, but regardless, road salts do have harmful effects on wildlife and ecosystems. So, what can we do to fix this problem? Jenny Gross with the New York Times states, “One method involves treating roads before storms with a salt brine solution, which can lead to a 75 percent reduction in the amount of salt used while keeping roads just as safe.” Balancing environmental concerns with road safety is a difficult task, but by raising awareness and finding reasonable solutions, we can find a compromise that makes our community and our world a better place.
Other winter road and driving-related facts to keep in mind:
- It only takes about 30 seconds to heat up to the ideal driving temperature, even in the winter conditions we have in Park City. Idling and waiting for your car to heat up is not cost-effective and is bad for the environment.
The EPA released that on average, snow blowers release one pound of carbon monoxide every hour that it’s used. Carbon monoxide (CO) is a harmful gas molecule that when inhaled can cause slowed delivery of oxygen to vital organs in the body. Gasoline-powered home-use machines, such as snow blowers, are useful and fast, but shoveling your snow is much more sustainable. Some might even say it’s more fulfilling!
By Grayson Rae, Sophomore at Park City High School