Very Slick Driveway

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by WanderingOak, Dec 14, 2005.

  1. WanderingOak

    WanderingOak Well-Known Member

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    Thanks to two early season snow and ice storms, the gravel driveway uphill to my property is covered with an inch of half-melted snow, turning to ice, with solid ice ruts where I have driven. After a hard freeze a few days ago, the ice no longer compacts under the wheels of my truck, so I have absolutely NO control when going out. I turn the wheels, and the truck keeps going straight in the ruts. My neighbor used to keep his truck parked across the road at the head of my driveway, but fortunately he hasn't for the past few days, because I would have nailed him as I slid out into the road this morning. Coming home this afternoon, my 4 wheel drive truck almost didn't make it up the driveway. Absolutely no traction whatsoever in the ice ruts, and almost no traction in the snow. Close to the entire driveway is rutted now that I have been using it for most of the past week. I could drive on the margins, skirting the ditch, but then that section would freeze solid as well, making the entire driveway slick and treacherous, even for foot traffic.

    This is my first time having to deal with a hockey rink for a driveway. It hasn't been this bad in the five years I have been here. What is the best way to remedy this situation? I was going to spread some sand on the driveway this afternoon, but all the sand I have on hand is frozen into a solid block. I did manage to find some lime to spread on the driveway with a seed-spreader. Hopefully that was better than nothing and won't cause any damage. The problem area of my driveway is about thirty feet long. How much salt would I need to treat that section of driveway? Would sand even work in increasing traction, or would that just be spinnig my wheels? I could just park at the head of my driveway and walk up to my house, except I am recovering from knee surgery and am afraid that I might tear my knee up further if I slip on the ice walking down to my truck in the dark. Chains might work as well, except that the paved roads are clear, so I would need to stop my truck to take the chains off, at 5 am, with a bad knee.

    Winter hasn't even BEGUN yet, and it feels like fargin' February here in Virginia.
     
  2. greyhound girl

    greyhound girl Well-Known Member

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    It's not supposed to do that in Virginia! Where I live, they drop stone over the icy gravel roads. It's about the only thing that seems to work. My road is uphill going in and out and 1/2 mile long -that stone really helps.
     

  3. WanderingOak

    WanderingOak Well-Known Member

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    I do have some gravel available. If I have some daylight tomorow, I will see if it is still individual rocks, or a solid frozen mass. I should have put a tarp over the dadburn pile. Then again, they are calling for yet another ice storm tomorow! That will mean even more slick stuff on top of what I already have. If my employer has any sense at all, they will close tomorow. Otherwise, I have absolutely no vacation time left, which might mean that I will be working on Dec 26th :grump: .
     
  4. Pa funnyfarm

    Pa funnyfarm Well-Known Member

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    We're in PA and have over 100 foot almost straight up for our drive. We've used sand or ashes from the woodstove on ours in the 20 years we've been here. Helps some, going down is always more frightening to me than coming back up - our road is heavy traffic one. (of course having to wait to hit the road to get traction when it won't go up, back up and take another flying try at it is a little nerve wracking) I've also spent mornings with an ice scraper chopping into packed areas to at least make some spots that will give us some traction spots. DH always said to stay away from the salt or ice melts on ours because they will cause the mud to leach up from under the gravel making a bigger mess. (he has worked for a county road dept. for 30 years of winters) My kids as they move away from home make a flat driveway their number one priority on house hunting :) It helps here if someone can get to it with a blade on the tractor or pickup before it's driven on - but not much good with ice storms like we are supposed to get tomorrow. Good luck with yours from one nervous hill-dweller to another.
     
  5. bugstabber

    bugstabber Chief cook & weed puller Supporter

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    I can sympathize with you. We had an ice storm in 1996 that never melted. The ice was at least 2 inches thick and it lasted until spring. Imagine having to drive 45mph to work and back allwinter. Somedays the hill to our place was so slick I slid from side to side, once I BACKED up the hill. Is there a gravel pit nearby? They could load you up with some sand for you to spread.
     
  6. bare

    bare Head Muderator

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    Wood ashes as mentioned above is what works for us and we have an abundance this time of year.

    Another trick to exiting down hill on ice is to go down in neutral, not under power. It gives your brakes a chance to work without working against you.
     
  7. canfossi

    canfossi Well-Known Member

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    I deal with this situation most of the winter at my house since my driveway is on a hill. We use ashes mainly, but also sand will work. If things are still too slick then I would park at the bottom to avoid riskiny slidding out onto the road. Be careful when walking up though so you don't get hurt. Chris
     
  8. Quint

    Quint Well-Known Member

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    When mine gets bad I sometimes use sand if I've thought ahead and picked up a few loads before everything froze up. I put down salt occasionally but it makes such a mess and I don't have ready access to it. When mine gets upholstery soiling bad then I get a load of gravel brought in and dumped on the slick areas.

    For storing smaller amounts of sand I've found inexpensive trash cans of either the rubbermaid or galvanized variety work great. Keep it dry and out of the way. If you have a big driveway to maintain and have a lot of snow then it might pay to set up a covered sand/salt covered bunker of some sort. Something that I'm considering once I get my thousand other projects finished. I'm sure all you other homesteaders can relate.
     
  9. tobo6

    tobo6 Well-Known Member

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    I can sympathize with you. We haven't been hit with enough snow and ice yet...still waiting for that. Our driveway is around 1200 ft long, with 800 of it very steep. So steep that in the rainy season the gravel doesn't hold and it becomes a muddy slippery ride going up and going down.

    I know this won't help because of your knee but we lined our driveway with logs so that if we did slide we wouldn't go off into the woods, but hit a log instead. It gives me more confidence on making it down when it is really slippery. Two winter ago, we parked at the bottom and trekked up to the house. A real pain to walk up it with snow and ice, but a lot safer. We used sleds to ride the driveway down though, lol.

    I also agree that going down in neutral helps big time. Even in the summer I go down the drive in neutral because I feel like I have more control and the car isn't pushing me down the driveway.
     
  10. crystalniche

    crystalniche Well-Known Member

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    Thank you for the nuetral trick. I'm going to try it on my driveway the next time it snows. We have a 600' driveway off route 6 which is very heavily traveled by cars and trucks going at turnpike speed. We have slid out and across it on a few occasions. I usually get out and walk up while my husband makes a run on it from across the street trying to use speed to get him up it. I watch, see him coming and get out of the way! There are so many big Maples here that I can go and stand behind a few while he tries to "climb the driveway" while sliding around. Pretty scary but we have it plowed so it isn't often this bad. We can't park at the bottom because of the road being so bad and that part of the driveway so steep the van or car would just slide out onto the road. In an emergency we've parked across the end of the driveway but don't like to do that because the danger of it being hit is high.
     
  11. bare

    bare Head Muderator

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    Heck, if it's REALLY slick and you can't control your vehicle going downhill on ice, you can even put the rig in reverse and idle down to maintain control.
     
  12. romancemelisa

    romancemelisa Well-Known Member

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    mine is not ice, mine is mud. the last 2 days i have slid out of here and back in. 5 miles both ways, in a small rental car, I want my truck back!, it is in the shop from the last time it rained, we tried to pull our car out of the ditch , after it slid in, think that is when the problem with the transmission started, and we didn't get the car out.

    The road was not this bad last year, do you think the lack of rain over the summer is the problem? I do have snow chains, would this help in the mud?
     
  13. Cabin Fever

    Cabin Fever Life NRA Member since 1976 Supporter

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    Spread a mixture of salt and sand on your driveway...light on the salt. The salt will cause some of the ice to melt. When the melted ice refreezes, it will make the sand particles "stick" to the surface of the ice. What you end up with is a driving surface that feels like sandpaper.
     
  14. Cabin Fever

    Cabin Fever Life NRA Member since 1976 Supporter

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    For mud you want flotation, chains are just the opposite of what you need.
     
  15. foxtrapper

    foxtrapper Well-Known Member Supporter

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    One day I happened to notice that those salt spreaders used by trucks looks a lot like my seed spreader. I tried it, and it worked superbly. By using the spreader I use a lot less salt, and use it far more effectively.

    I'd salt a skating rink driveway. It doesn't take much with a seed spreader.
     
  16. Richard6br

    Richard6br Well-Known Member

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    I have been using a mixture of gravel chips and salt. It works really well. Go easy on the salt. My driveway is paved and is very steep. The secret is to NOT let the snow build up. Plow the snow off before anyone drives on it. My neighbor lets his build up until it is about 4" thick. It would take a bulldozer to break that mess down. The neutral thing works very well. If you have a standard shift, you can put it in reverse and slip the clutch on the way down.
     
  17. michiganfarmer

    michiganfarmer Max Supporter

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    brakes stop tires. stopped tires slide. leaving a transmission in gear lets the tires rotate. rotating tires will give the most control with the limited traction available.

    we have used wood ashes before too, and they work awsome
     
  18. Cabin Fever

    Cabin Fever Life NRA Member since 1976 Supporter

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    I would venture that a mixture of wood ash and sand would have the same effect as a mixture of salt and sand.
     
  19. bretthunting

    bretthunting Well-Known Member

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    i work for the dot. if you can, call your local dot and see if they have any millings,that is what comes off of a asphalt road when they mill it and put down a new layer, they are real good for traction and are black so they will absorb radiant heat faster and help keep your drive thawed.
     
  20. amwitched

    amwitched Well-Known Member

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    Canning salt and/or kitty litter.