Driving on black ice is one of the most dangerous risk factors during winter, so it’s critical to know how to keep yourself safe.

Each year, 24 percent of weather-related vehicle crashes occur on snowy, slushy, or icy pavement, and over 1,300 people are killed in these types of accidents. Black ice accounts for a large portion of these daunting statistics.

Since black ice can be deadly, it’s essential to know what it is and how to react if you have an encounter.

How Does Black Ice Form?

Although it’s called “black ice,” this road hazard is just clear ice that is difficult to detect in advance. Black ice presents itself as a thin layer of highly transparent ice that blends in with the asphalt below. Since it tends to look like the rest of the pavement on the road, black ice can sneak up on drivers and leave them with little time to react.

Black ice can form on any roadway, but it’s most common on parts of the road without much sunshine. It also forms more regularly on roads that are less traveled on. Bridges, overpasses, and the road beneath overpasses are common areas that you should be aware of.

The Dangers of Black Ice

  • Black ice is difficult to spot – It’s nearly impossible to detect black ice while driving down the road due to its transparent nature. This hazard also often forms during low-light conditions, such as evenings and early morning hours, when it’s already difficult to see outside.
  • Warm temperatures can be deceiving – When outdoor temperatures begin to rise after a snowstorm, many people wrongfully assume that it’s too warm for ice to form; however, this isn’t true. Ice formation depends on the pavement temperature. Frozen ground can keep roadways much colder than the air, causing black ice to form without warning.

Tips for Driving on Black Ice

If you have the unfortunate luck of hitting black ice on the road, here are four tips to stay in control of your vehicle:

  1. Take your foot off the gas immediately – Any amount of acceleration can send your vehicle out of control while battling black ice. Taking your foot off the gas helps your car decelerate naturally.
  1. Avoid hitting your brakes – Braking might feel necessary when you’re driving on black ice, but this can send you into a tailspin. If you must brake, pump your brakes slowly instead of slamming on them.
  1. Keep your steering wheel straight – Turning your wheel during a black ice episode can send your car spinning. Instead, try to keep your steering wheel as straight as possible.
  1. Head toward areas of traction – Look for patches of white snow, grass, gravel, sand, or other areas of traction. These zones provide your tires with enough of a buffer to regain control.

Flickinger Sutterfield & Boulton Is Here for You

If you’ve been involved in an accident while driving on black ice, the personal injury lawyers at Flickinger Sutterfield & Boulton are here to help. With over 25 years in the industry, we’re prepared to help you with the aftermath and fight for your legal rights.

Our law firms in Provo, Saratoga Springs, West Jordan, and Orem, Utah, are here to serve you. If you would like to arrange for an evaluation of your auto accident case or simply learn more about auto accident claims, please contact the law firm of Flickinger Sutterfield & Boulton today.