It’s no secret that winter driving can be a dangerous prospect. No matter how well you prepare your car with snow tires, de-icer, and other winter driving necessities, nature will still throw curveballs at you – like black ice.
What exactly is black ice, though?
Black ice is a razor-thin, incredibly clear layer of ice that forms mainly on bridges and overpasses. The term “black ice” refers to the see-through properties of the ice.
The layer is so thin that it appears to be just a wet patch of asphalt, leading motorists to disregard the patch and continue to drive over it normally. This can cause the driver to lose control and end up in a dangerous and even life-ending collision.
Even if you don’t become injured from a black ice accident, your car may suffer significant damage and you could end up at the local auto shop.
How does black ice form?
Black ice is formed when air temperature is higher than the pavement. This causes the condensation to freeze rapidly, creating a transparent coating of ice on the road.
How do I avoid black ice?
The best way to avoid black ice is to stay off the road when winter weather conditions become extreme. If you absolutely can’t stay off the road, here are some tips to help keep you safe on black ice:
- Applying the brakes on ice can cause your car to skid; try to avoid stepping down on the brakes if you find yourself driving on ice
- No matter the posted speed limit, drive at an appropriately slow speed on dangerously icy roads
- Don’t tailgate other cars on the road; this could cause unnecessary problems if someone does happen to hit a patch of black ice
- Drive slowly at bridges and overpasses in the morning hours when the sun is rapidly heating the air above the frozen road
There’s no way to absolutely avoid driving into a patch of black ice. Preventative measures are your best bet to combat this seemingly invisible hazard. Be cautious when driving in winter, stay off the phone, keep your focus on driving, and avoid distractions.
If you stay focused and pay attention to hazardous conditions when driving in winter, not only can you avoid driving into black ice, you could also avoid a preventable trip to the car repair garage.