Thanksgiving has now passed, and it is time to realized that snow is not far around the corner for some of us. Others are already dealing with a winter wonderland of their own. Snow is anticipated and desired, especially on Christmas day. However, shortly before it arrives, everyone and their brother make a mad dash to the grocery store to stock up on what you would think would be a week long blizzard. Why do we do this? The drivers out their realize along with the snow comes the ice! Just the thought of someone sliding into the side of our automobile makes us cringe even if we are competent about our driving abilities. Coupled with that, the safety of ourselves and our loved ones is imperative. Ice on the roads is an important issue and one that has to be dealt with like it or not. Salting the road has a huge impact on the environment, highways, and vehicles, but the ability to travel from point A to B is necessary despite the what the weather has in store for us. This year we should consider greener snow melt and de-icing solutions. We can start at home by using less de-icing chemicals that can harm our vehicles and environment.

Rock salt is the most commonly used chemical agent for de-icing. It melts snow and ice by lowering its freezing point. The safety benefits are tremendous, however, melting snow carries these chemicals into the surrounding environment This elevates the salt level in the surrounding soil. This elevation of salt levels inhibits the vegetation ability to absorb nutrients and water, which consequently causes runoff of even more salt into the watershed. This causes an increase in salt in freshwater, and that always leads back to every living thing. Increased salts in our water supply leads to important negative health concerns such as hypertension. Furthermore, the salt alongside the roadways attract wildlife which leads to increased driving hazards. Salts also affects road infrastructure and automobiles because of it's corrosive nature. Unfortunately, is it necessary for our survival. We can all do things at home to lessen it's impact collectively.

Not only is this issue important to us, but several state Department of Transportation has sought out some effective alternatives to combat the overuse of salt on the roadways.

They are lessening their dependency on salt with improved snowfighting equipment and increased technology. Today they are using controlled application of chemicals and they are also utilizing better sensor technology, weather forecast, road friction measurements, road surface temperature measurements, and global positioning equipment to determine actual need for application of salt. They are also allowing for special consideration on federally protected areas due to wildlife and areas that have the potential for runoff to ponds, lakes, and wetlands with poorly flushed mechanisms in place.

So what can we do? We can become more proactive in caring for our personal environment. We can use the right shoes and snow boots while walking around outside. there are special Oversized Anti Slip Snow Ice Traction Aids that can easily slip over your shoes or boots that prevent you from falling. You can get these for less than $40. You can also purchase Ice Walker Shoe Cleats that strap right over any shoe. They are less than $10, and will fit in a purse or glove box easily. These are great to use in areas that you do not want to contaminate with excess salt.

Using studded mountain bike tires can keep you riding down the road without slipping and sliding all over the place. You can find them in local bike shops or order them on line. Nokian & Schwalbe have a huge selection to chose from and has lots of information about the ins and outs of studded tires.

Use studless snow tires for your vehicle. Studded snow tires and chains can damage road surface, and they are not legal to use in some areas. Use all seasonal radials. Buying tires with the "mountain-snowflake" symbol will ensure a good dependable tire that will provide good traction during those snowy days. You can find name brands like Bridgestone, Dunlop, Goodyear, Michelin, and Pirelli in the series to meet your needs. You need to purchase these in sets of four.

Scrap snow off sidewalk and driveways until it is down to a solid frozen layer. Use a de-icer that has rock salt mixed with organic materials to lessen the damage to the surrounding environment. Carefully put de-icer down to keep from over using it. Use it discriminately in areas of high traffic use and slopes only. Mix it with sand to use less and add traction. Every little bit helps when we all do it.

Use greener solutions for driveways, walkways, steps, and even roofs with Heatizon Systems. They offer radiant heat de-icing systems for all of these structures. These products have sensors to detect the temperature and weather and only come on when need. There is also a measurement in place so that you can figure your energy cost before you use install it. This is a great idea to ensure snow melt and no chemicals are used in this process.