Open grade friction course (OGFC) asphalt has been used since 1950 in different parts of the United States to improve the surface frictional resistance of asphalt pavements. OGFC improves wet weather driving conditions by allowing the water to drain through its porous structure away from the roadway. It's recently become a tool used by the Alabama Department of Transportation to make their roadways safer.
"Basically the way it works is due to the size and make up of the aggregate, it's more porous so open graded friction course is water permeable and it allows water to pass through it and drain off better than your typical road surface," Seth Burkett Alabama Department of Transportation's (ALDOT) public information officer, says.
This special asphalt gives tires better traction regardless of the weather conditions. ALDOT has been using this kind of asphalt on highways and interstates to help lower the chance of hydroplaning.
"We use it in certain types of conditions on the interstate where you have a lot of traffic in a large area where you could have water pooling and traffic's moving at a high speed," Burkett says. "We also might use it in some areas where you do have water collecting or standing on the road or a problem with hydroplaning."