What is Black Ice?
Black Ice is a very thin layer of ice that can form on road surfaces in cold weather conditions. It is extremely dangerous because it is difficult to spot on the road.
How Does Black Ice Form?
When snow or moisture from the air freezes rapidly, thus attaching itself to the frozen pavement. Freezing rain can appear white or translucent due to air bubbles being trapped. Black ice is far more dangerous because it is perfectly clear, making it that much mor difficult to see at night.
Where Can You Commonly Find Black Ice?
Whenever you have little to no sunlight, these areas are especially at risk of having black ice form. Back roads that are not used frequently, as well as in tunnels, underpasses and bridges are also common areas where black ice forms.
How Do You Know if You Are Driving on Black Ice?
You can’t see black ice, so if you’re driving along and your car begins to slide or lose traction, you’ve probably come across some black ice. You should never make drastic shifts with your steering wheel or your brakes when driving in harsh weather conditions whether it be in rain or heavy snow. If even a small shift in your steering seems to generate an exaggerated response from your vehicle, you may be driving on black ice.
To stay safe, drive slowly in conditions where black ice can form. Reduced speeds lessens the likelihood of you skidding or losing control of your vehicle. Do not use cruise control in these conditions.
Do not make jerky, reactive movements that could cause skidding or an accident. Slow and steady is the best approach to navigating through black ice.
How Can You Recover from Skidding on Black Ice?
If you are operating either a front-wheel or all-wheel drive vehicle, turn your steering into the skid. Change the direction of your steering if the skid takes you in a different direction. Be sure to maintain your speed and do not apply any pressure to your brakes or gas pedal. If you have a manual transmission, push in your clutch.
Never slam on your brakes when you encounter black ice.
While driving, be gentle with your steering wheel movements. You don’t want your vehicle’s back end to start sliding in the opposite direction. Straighten your steering wheel and gently apply pressure to your accelerator.
How to Stay Safe in Winter Weather Driving Conditions
One of your best defenses against winter weather conditions and slippery road surfaces are good tires. All-season tires with good traction and tread depth are ideal. If you live in an area where it snows consistently, go with a set of snow tires.