Keep Your Cool On Black Ice

 

We can’t avoid driving in the winter, so it’s important to be mindful of the hazards that come with driving during this season. One of the biggest driving hazard’s during winter is black ice. Black ice earns its name as it is transparent and takes on the appearance of the surface below it, such as black on pavement. This ice forms when air temperature is warm enough for precipitation to take the form of rain, but the ground temperature remains a freezing temperature. The rain turns to ice on contact, creating a clear, transparent film over surfaces. In order to stay safe this winter, it's important to identify what roads you travel may be more susceptible to black ice and what to do if you encounter it.

 

Black ice can form anywhere, especially when the air temperature is hovering above freezing and the ground temperature is still below freezing. However, bridges and overpasses will ice first and may have black ice linger longer as the air temperature can freeze the surface from above and below the structure. Roadways that don’t receive a lot of sunlight are also affected by black ice more frequently. Whether certain roads have heavy tree coverage or it’s been cloudy without much sunlight, it’s important to drive with caution on these roads.

 

Spotting black ice can be difficult, especially if you’re not paying attention or looking for it. During the winter, it's important to keep your focus on the road and be on the lookout for surfaces that have a glossy appearance to them as you’re approaching. If you find your vehicle slipping on black ice, it's important to remain calm. Do not slam on the brake or jerk the wheel or you will significantly increase your chance of causing an accident. Keep your foot off the brake and accelerator.

Only turn your steering wheel if your vehicle’s rear-end begins to fishtail one way or the other. If your rear-end does turn out, turn your steering wheel in the direction your rear-end is already going. Be careful not to oversteer and do not try to turn the steering wheel the opposite way to correct it or you will cause your vehicle to spin-out. Once your vehicle is off the ice, you may slowly begin to accelerate as you regain control. 

 

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Categories: Tips
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