Salt Resources

Read and pass along WI Salt Wise brochures - Motorists Handout

Slow Down
on Salt

The goal of winter procedures is to maintain "passable roadways," or roadways that are free of drifts, snow ridges and as much ice and snow as possible. But expectations for perfect driving conditions have caused us to use excess deicing materials every year. Expectations like these come with costs — the cost of the tens of thousands of tons of salt used every year and the unmeasurable cost of our environment’s health.

Embrace The Frozen Tundra

Rather than depending on summer driving conditions in a Wisconsin winter, accept that our weather involves ice and snow. If possible, stay off the roads when it’s snowing. If you must go out remember that snow and ice should be treated as an emergency, so travel accordingly by:

  • Waiting to allow time for plowing and deicers.
  • Clearing snow and ice from all windows and lights before driving.
  • Making sure your tires have good tread and are properly inflated. If possible, invest in winter tires for better traction.
  • Knowing the current road conditions before you hit the road.
  • Leaving sufficient room for stopping, and braking correctly and early.
  • Avoiding tailgating plows
  • Opting out of cruise control.
  • Traveling slowly, using caution and reason. Remember, the police can and will ticket and fine  you if you are traveling too closely or at an unsafe speed for the conditions.
  • Driving for the conditions.

Our current practices are not sustainable; Road salt has been used as a deicer on streets in the Dane County region since the late 1950s, and over the last 50 years, average lake water concentrations have steadily increased — in Lake Mendota, chloride concentrations increase about 1 mg/L each year. If that rate continues, the waters will eventually taste salty and exceed toxic concentrations for aquatic life.

Oversalting is hard on our tax dollars as well. If we followed specific salting guidelines that recommend correct salt usage, that cost would significantly decrease and the excess money could be put toward improving Wisconsin in other ways.

Remember this winter that the consequences of wanting to get where you’re going as fast as possible are expensive, irreversible and can be harmful to you and our environment. Limiting our salt use today will create a better environment, and a healthier wallet, for tomorrow.