If you had a new asphalt driveway installed over the summer but you didn't have it sealcoated, you should do that now, especially if you live in an area that sees snow and ice. Road salts and deicers used to melt snow and ice can be damaging to asphalt. While you can choose what to use yourself to melt ice, you can't control what others use, and what they use can eventually reach the edges of your driveway. Sealcoating will help protect your driveway from runoff containing the damaging materials.
How Road Salt and Deicers Damage Asphalt
There's nothing magical about how road salts and deicers cause damage to asphalt driveways; they simply make ice and snow melt more quickly. The resulting water soaks down into the asphalt, which is relatively porous, and the next time the temperature goes below freezing, you'll have ice formation within the asphalt. Ice expands, so the asphalt can crack.
The Risk to Your Driveway
You're in control of what you use on your driveway (hint: use sand for traction rather than trying to melt the ice), but if your neighbors use road salts or deicers, or if the city uses them on the roads, those materials can still end up running over parts of your driveway because runoff will carry them there. You'd still risk cracks in the asphalt.
You can also carry salt residue on your shoes if you walk through some of that runoff. While the amounts stuck to your shoes won't be terribly large, you could end up causing a little ice melt on your driveway once you walk across it -- and that can still lead to water getting into the asphalt and forming ice.
Adding a layer of sealcoat will help protect your driveway by covering the little nooks and crannies where water can seep in. While sealcoating won't prevent all types of cracks, it will make it a little more difficult for tiny cracks to form. This one step now could save you quite a bit of work after the season of snow and ice is done.
Talk to a sealcoating company, like Stritar Seal Coating, today about what adding a layer of protective sealcoat can do for you. With winter just around the corner, you need to take quick steps to ensure your driveway will stay in good shape for as long as possible, no matter what people around you use to get rid of ice and snow.