Applied straight, salt can initiate melting, enable the snow or ice to be removed by plowing, and allow the road to dry. Because fewer applications are necessary, considerable savings in equipment and manpower may be possible. Because truckloads of straight salt extend ten to twenty times farther than loads of salt/sand mixture, response time and efficiency could improve. Highway safety should generally benefit. Ironically, less salt might be applied to the highway in a single straight application than in repeated but ineffective applications of sand/salt mixture.
Closely related to the issue of salt use is the question of whether ground-speed controlled, zero-velocity spreaders can reduce chemical waste. By dropping (rather than throwing) consistent amounts of chemical regardless of truck speed, the spreaders can improve salt retention, allowing gross application rates to be lowered.
Research is needed to determine whether straight salt can be used effectively and, if so, to establish criteria and guidelines for its proper use. The research should compare the total amounts of chloride applied on the road and into the environment when use of straight salt is and is not allowed. Finally, the research should assess the costs and benefits associated with use of ground-speed controlled zero-velocity spreaders.