NOV 27, 2018 8:02 AM PST

Here's how we should fix icy roads

As winter makes its presence known this year, it's time that we begin thinking of new ways to deal with the ice and snow that it brings not only to our homes but to our roads. Icy roads can be scary to drive on and historically we have relied on salt to give us that extra bit of security so we don't slip - but salt isn't necessarily the best option. Salt is corrosive to the metal of cars, harmful to our clothing and skin, and toxic for many animals, ultimately damaging entire ecosystems and corroding metal pipes. So what's the alternative this winter?

One alternative is urea - or synthetic lab-grade pee. Now stay with me on this, because it may sound strange: urea lowers water's freezing point (just like salt) only it's not as corrosive or harmful to animals - it can even act as a fertilizer! Worried that urea isn't your cup of...well, pee? Scientists have also invented de-icers made of beet juice mixed with briny water. Though the substance uses salt, the presence of beet sugar means that less salt is needed to do the job and it even helps the mixture stay on roads for several days!

Now if you really want to go all out this winter, try using cheese brine. Want to find out the pros and cons of this alternative? Watch the video!

About the Author
  • Kathryn is a curious world-traveller interested in the intersection between nature, culture, history, and people. She has worked for environmental education non-profits and is a Spanish/English interpreter.
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