Weather Forecast


Frigidly cold temperatures could lead to slick roads

If you'll be doing any traveling over the next several days, slow down.

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) reminds motorists that normal driving conditions will be difficult to achieve with the single-digit and sub-zero temperatures forecast for the next several days. That's because salt, the normal product used to keep roadways clear of ice and snow, has greatly reduced effectiveness below 15 degrees Fahrenheit.

WisDOT winter maintenance engineer Michael Sproul notes that at 30 degrees, one pound of salt will melt 46.3 pounds of ice; at 5 degrees, just 4.1 pounds of ice.

"When temperatures get well below freezing, as they will be over the next several days, it makes little sense to use salt to try to melt ice, because it will just refreeze and make roads even more slippery," Sproul said. "About the only thing we can do at these temperatures is plow, but that does little to clear ice that may be present on the roadway."

Sproul said sand will be applied on low-speed roadways and at intersections, but it is rarely applied to main highways because it typically can be blown off the roadway by as few as 10 to 12 cars or three to five trucks.

The best advice for driving at these frigid temperatures, Sproul said, is to remember: If there's ice and snow, take it slow.

WisDOT's Division of State Patrol also reminds motorists that they can be cited for driving too fast for conditions if they lose control of their vehicle. That's a $198.60 citation with four demerit points.