Black Ice Awareness For Holiday Drivers

Are you going on a long road trip over the holidays? If so, you may encounter black ice at some point during your trip. Knowing what black ice is and how you can protect yourself from this deadly road hazard can help you stay safe this holiday season.

What is black ice?

Black ice is a type of ice that is completely smooth and contains no bubbles. Without bubbles, ice on the road often appears to be completely clear. Black ice is especially dangerous because it can be virtually invisible to drivers. 

How can you protect yourself from black ice?

Even though black ice is hard to detect, there are ways that you can protect yourself from this serious road hazard.

  • Check the weather before you leave. Local weather forecasters will often alert drivers if black ice has been found on the roads.
  • Pay attention to the temperature while driving. When temperatures are at or below freezing, then you'll know that black ice is a possibility.
  • Stick to well-traveled and well-plowed roads. Avoid rural roads and avoid driving on roads that don't see a lot of traffic.  
  • Be especially cautious when traveling in states with naturally mild climates. This may seem counter-intuitive, but states with harsh winters have to deal with black ice often and are likely to have developed systems for plowing and salting the roads that will help keep drivers safe. In states with naturally mild climates, the plow and salting systems may be less well developed.

How can you tell if you're driving on black ice?

Sometimes black ice is invisible and the only time that you can detect the ice is when you feel your tires skidding on its surface. However, there are times when you can actually see black ice. During these times, black ice bears a resemblance to puddles of water.

If you're driving over what looks like puddles, watch the cars in front of you on the road. If you can see a spray of water coming off their tires, you'll know that you're driving on water. If you see no water spray on their tires, then you're very likely driving on black ice. In this case, slow down and get off the road as soon as possible.

What should you do if your car starts to skid on black ice?

If your car starts to skid on black ice, don't hit the brakes. Simply ease off the gas and keep your car pointed in the same direction that you're already driving. Trying to break or change the direction that your car is driving could result in an overturned vehicle, or worse.

Despite your best efforts, you may still get in an accident this winter. If you do, you may need auto accident lawyer services from a skilled and experienced attorney. Consider contacting the professionals at Speers Reuland & Cibulskis, P.C. for assistance.