From a distance, our planet looks as smooth as a marble. Of course, we’re all familiar with just how bumpy the terrain can be on the ground level. Just because a driveway is smooth on the surface doesn’t mean it’s level, and there’s only so much you can do to overcome the various slopes and hills around you. And now that winter has arrived in New England, a hilly driveway can become difficult to safely maneuver and maintain -- this doesn’t mean you should neglect asphalt driveway maintenance this season, however. On the contrary, taking care of your asphalt all winter long is crucial for its longevity and safety. Here’s how to maintain and keep your hilly driveway safe this cold season.
How to Maintain a Hilly Driveway
Combining the slick conditions of winter with the forces of gravity can make your hilly driveway a slippery menace. So, the more you can do to increase friction this winter, the better. You might consider laying down traction-boosting materials, such as gravel or cat litter to give your driveway the extra adhesion it needs. Of course, these materials can become costly for larger driveways, and they can also potentially damage your asphalt surfaces. What’s more, if your driveway is really steep, these agents might gradually descend to the bottom of the asphalt, defeating their purpose. Simply put, whether or not traction-boosting substances will work for you will depend on your driveway’s size, slope, and other factors.
Keep Snow and Ice at Bay
Even if those aforementioned materials don’t do the trick for your hilly driveway, you can mitigate how slippery your surface becomes by staying on top of snow and ice removal. In addition to making your driveway more slick, snow and ice also decrease visibility and lead to gradual deterioration. For the sake of both your driveway’s safety and integrity, it’s worth hiring snow clearing services and/or tackling snow and ice removal tasks on your own when necessary (e.g., shoveling, snowblowing). Investing in non-corrosive, eco-friendly de-icing agents will also help prevent ice from forming on your asphalt and increase traction as an added bonus.
Make Sure Your Drainage Systems Are Functional
Your driveway’s drainage system also helps to ensure that snow and ice (and moisture, more broadly speaking) don’t wreak havoc on your driveway. One advantage of having a steeper driveway is that gravity keeps moisture flowing towards drains -- if your driveway is hilly throughout, however, water can pool between slopes. And if your drains are clogged or otherwise malfunctioning, standing water, snow, and ice can linger on your asphalt to its detriment, increasing the amount of driveway repair services you’ll need to invest in down the line. The bottom line: inspect and repair your drainage prior to winter if possible, and do your best to prevent moisture from overstaying its welcome.
Don’t Let Cracks Run Rampant
Cracks and potholes are problems for all driveways, regardless of how hilly they are. That said, these gaps are often exacerbated for asphalt surfaces that rest on sloped terrain. Therefore, it’s critical to stay on top of driveway pothole and crack repair year-round, and especially during winter. Filling these abrasions during winter can be challenging, but it’s not impossible -- the asphalt must be completely dry before doing so, and you must use fillers that can be applied in cold conditions.
Stopping a Slippery Slope this Winter
You might not be able to magically flatten out your driveway, but you can take actions that keep it safe and in good shape even amid the worst winter conditions. Cassidy Paving offers a wide range of residential and commercial asphalt services year-round. Call us today at 866-978-9788 for a free estimate on your next paving project.