DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – CBS 11 News took a look at exactly what the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) is putting on the roads to try to make them safer in inclement weather.

They’re using a combination of materials – including a new mix of magnesium chloride that comes in both liquid and solid form. It’s a chemical that can hold the heat in longer, making it less likely for ice to stick on the roads. But, if the temperatures drop too much, for too long, the magnesium chloride can freeze.

TxDOT will also use a sand and salt combination as needed.

As far as road conditions, by midnight things remained better in Dallas versus areas west, and north. Conditions hadn’t gotten treacherously bad one traditionally slick spot — the High Five in north Dallas. Just before midnight there had been no accidents reported.

The good fortune on the interchange was probably because for most of the night toe roads had simply been wet. Traffic seen in the area was moving very slowly.

A CBS 11 News crew spotted several TxDOT sanding trucks driving around, but at no point did they see them laying down sand. That is a strategic move. Transportation officials say in order for the sand to be effective it has to be put down as soon as the ice forms. If it goes down too early it will either be washed away in the rain or will become frozen underneath the ice.

Many city of Dallas sanding trucks are also in that scouting mode. There are 35 trucks out on the roads. And just before midnight some of them had gotten busy dropping sand in the southwest part of town – just off of Camp Wisdom Road where there were reports of ice.

(©2013 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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