10 Awesome Inventions for Living with Snow

© Shen Jizhong/Xinhua Press/Corbis

When your community isn't experimenting with sugar beets or garlic salt, they usually turn to good old rock salt for de-icing the roads after the snow falls. Salt contains sodium and chloride which reacts when mixed with water and oxidizes into air. This helps melt the existing snow and ice, while also acting as an abrasive.

Salt is often distributed by vehicles called "Gritters." One such vehicle is the "zero velocity salt spreader," which releases the salt at the same speed the truck is moving. Its "zero velocity" reduces waste since the salt hits the pavement with no momentum.

In addition to getting progressively more expensive, rock salt also damages cars and bridges, while slowly polluting underground water and killing plants. It can also erode the insulation off buried cables, generating a neoprene gas that can collect and potentially explode.