Black ice is bad news, and it has the potential to send your car spiraling onto oncoming traffic. Although black ice is transparent, it appears black when it forms over a black surface, such as asphalt. Not only is this ice almost impossible to see, but it can be almost anywhere on the road. While there is no surefire way to tell if you’re running into black ice, there are some signs to look for that will help you know if black ice is coating the road.
How Does Black Ice Form?
Black ice hides in plain sight and can easily make you lost control of the road. Here are some reasons why black ice forms:
- When the snow melts during the day and makes the roads wet, then refreezes at night as clear ice.
- Intense rainfall that results in puddles forming on the road before the temperature drops and freezes solid.
- Moisture that condenses in the air and creates a dew that freezes on the road.
For black ice to form, the surface of the road must drop below 32 degrees Fahrenheit. Bridges, overpasses, and shaded areas are all susceptible to experiencing black ice since cold air flows underneath and above elevated surfaces.
How Can I Spot Black Ice?
As mentioned above, be on the lookout for anywhere that sunlight can’t reach. Heavily traveled roads usually don’t experience black ice as empty, suburban roads do. Timing matters, so if you’re traveling at night in the winter, you’ll hit black ice. Black ice forms when the temperature drops, so have a heightened sense of security on the road from sunset to sunrise. Check your car’s thermometer before you take off.
Nighttime black ice looks different from daytime black ice. At night, look out for patches of pavement that are darker compared to the rest of the road. During the day, watch out for glossy, wet-looking surfaces that are around shaded parts of the road. Watch other drivers that are in front of you to better identify black ice conditions. Pay attention to other drivers’ tires. Sometimes, it can be tricky to tell the difference between black ice and a puddle on the road. If the road is glistening and you can see tires spraying up water, then it’s safe to assume that there isn’t any black ice.
How Can I Stay Safe?
Driving over black ice is similar to driving in the snow, except you’ll have to be even more careful. The main difference between driving in the snow and driving over black ice is that snow offers a little bit of traction for your tires; on the other hand, black ice is completely smooth. A smooth road means that your tires won’t have any grip. When you reach a patch of black ice, remove your foot from the accelerator immediately.
Keeping a straight wheel is advisable so that you can coast safely over the black ice. Avoid sudden movements when driving on ice, such as turning your steering wheel because you’ll lose control of your vehicle. Don’t slam your brakes under any circumstances.
The probability of getting into a car wreck increases exponentially when you drive on black ice. If you find yourself in an unfortunate car collision, you’ll need to work with a personal injury lawyer. Contact Flickinger Sutterfield & Boulton to work with one of our veteran injury lawyers.