BLACK ICE: A DANGEROUS ROAD CONDITION
Posted on: Dec. 10, 2017 in Driving

Once the cold weather approaches, black ice is always a concern. Black ice is a thin coat of ice that forms on the road that is extremely difficult to see. Typically, it forms when the ground temperature is at 32 degrees or lower and rain, sleet, freezing rain, or snow is falling. The moisture freezes creating a very dangerous hazard.

When Is Black Ice Most Dangerous?

Black Ice is most dangerous at dusk and dawn when temperatures are lower. It can also form when snow begins to melt during the day and then freezes when the ground temperature dips. This time of year, it’s wise to keep an eye on the weather and note the time of day when the temperature will fall below freezing. Beware of areas, also, where the sun was shining on ice and potentially melting it as this area can refreeze when there is no longer direct sunlight.

How Can I Spot Black Ice?

Black ice is incredibly difficult to see, making it particularly hazardous. However, there is one sign to look out for. A patch of pavement that looks dark and glossy when the rest of the road looks dry is very possibly ice. Remember, black ice is usually something that happens in random spaces rather than over the entire road surface.

Dealing with Black Ice

Since it’s so hard to see, it’s important to be aware of the potential for black ice and drive accordingly. Your tires can often retain some traction in snow but will retain almost none with ice, leading to sliding or spinning out. Follow these tips for driving when the chance of ice forming is high.

  • Slow down. It’s always easier to deal with ice if you’re not moving as fast.
  • Keep a safe following distance since you can hit ice while you’re braking and slide.
  • Do not become distracted. Focus on the road ahead.

If you do hit some ice, the best thing you can do is to stay calm. Knowing some car-handling tips for ice is also helpful.

  1. Do not hit the brakes. Focus on keeping your steering steady. Braking can cause you to slide more.
  2. Take your foot off the gas. Accelerating while on the ice will not help and can actually make it worse.
  3. Do not over-correct your steering wheel. If you turn the wheel too far instead of pointing it in the direction you want to be going, you’ll end up sliding more.

The best course of action is to avoid driving when the roads could be icy. If you must venture out, use caution while on the road.

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