Learn which plants thrive in your Hardiness Zone with our new interactive map!

How to Improve Traction on an Asphalt Driveway

By Robert Morello ; Updated September 21, 2017

Asphalt is a popular road and driveway surfacing material because of its ease of installation and long lifespan. Asphalt is made of aggregates held together by bitumen, usually produced during the oil refining process. Asphalt is strong and waterproof, and it absorbs heat and light. Traction on asphalt surfaces can be affected by moisture, freezing conditions, and oil or gasoline spills.

Step 01

Apply a sand seal to your asphalt driveway to increase the overall grip of the surface and improve traction. Sand seals consist of liquid asphalt blended with fine sand. The treatment seals any existing holes or flaws and adds a layer of grit. Use a broom to sweep away any debris from the driveway surface in preparation for application.

Step 11

Use asphalt cleaner to remove any spill residue or stains from the surface of the driveway. Use the cleaner according to the manufacturer's instructions, then allow the driveway to dry completely.

Step 21

Use asphalt crack filler to close up any large cracks in the surface of the driveway. Apply the filler according to the manufacturer's instructions. Allow the crack filler to dry completely before you move ahead with the process.

Step 31

Apply the asphalt sand sealer to the driveway surface in the morning hours. The driveway should have as much exposure to sun as possible to aid in the drying process. Mix the sealer thoroughly before application, then apply it to the surface with a squeegee. The padded side of the squeegee should be dipped into the sealer solution then used to spread the sealer across a 4-foot square patch of driveway.

Step 41

Work the sealer into the surface in one direction, then turn 90 degrees, and repeat the process. Continue brushing until there is a smooth and uniform coat over the entire driveway. Allow the sealer to dry according to the manufacturer's instructions. Remove any lines or lumps from the sealer with the back side of the squeegee before it dries.


Things You Will Need

  • Asphalt sand seal
  • Broom
  • Asphalt cleaner
  • Asphalt crack filler
  • Squeegee
  • Asphalt roofing shingles


  • Keep some asphalt roofing shingles in the trunk of your car for emergencies. If your car becomes stuck in icy conditions, and you cannot gain any traction, slip a few of the tiles beneath your wheels.
  • Remove any structures or plant growth around your driveway which can cause shady spots. Spots that do not fall within the path of direct sunlight are often faster to freeze and become slippery during inclement weather.


  • Use caution when driving on asphalt-coated surfaces in the early stages of rainfall. Small amounts of water can cause oil that has seeped into the asphalt to rise and greatly reduce your tire traction. Once rain has fallen steadily for a time, the oil will begin to run off, and the surface will become less slippery.

About the Author


Robert Morello has an extensive travel, marketing and business background. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from Columbia University in 2002 and has worked in travel as a guide, corporate senior marketing and product manager and travel consultant/expert. Morello is a professional writer and adjunct professor of travel and tourism.