Black Ice Tips to Avoid Black Ice Trips
Everyone knows to hold on tightly and be careful in the snow and ice but black ice is a bit more tricky-and can take you by surprise. Black Ice is a thin layer of ice that gives the appearance of pavement or a fresh puddle of water because of how clear it is and how thin it is. Black Ice forms when the ice or snow melts and then the temperature quickly changes to freezing again. Also, black ice can form when light rain falls on pavement or roadways that are at a freezing temperature. Sometimes called Glare Ice, especially on a sunny day, Black Ice can simply look like the sun is glaring off of the pavement in front of you. If you see this, it is best to use caution. Often when people see that the salt trucks are making their rounds, guards are let down, assuming that the roads are de-iced. Nothing can take the place of being self-aware and cautious of ice on the road. Also consider the presence of Black ice in your own driveway as you can lose control entering your garage or re-entering the roadway. It is wise to have salt or anti-icing agent available in your garage for use throughout the winter.
There are steps you can take to keep aware and safe from accidents involving Black Ice.
First, keep your car fit for winter weather by making sure your tire tread is at 6/32 inches for the best grip on the pavement. Just because you have “All Season Tires” does not mean they are the best tires for winter ice and snow.
Second, keep your windows clear of snow, ice and fog by cleaning off the car before driving. Keep the air going inside the car to defog and defrost-avoiding condensation build-up.
Third, keep aware of Black Ice even when the vehicle’s outside temperature gauge does not indicate freezing temperatures. “Located outside the car, behind the front bumper, these sensors sometimes pick up heat from the car’s engine, resulting in a higher temperature reading,” says AccuWeather Meteorologist Frank Strait. Gauges can be wrong so also use your best cognitive judgement.
Fourth, keep calm in the case you do hit Black Ice. “The biggest danger is that you are at the mercy of your vehicle and the ice until your car passes over it,” Vice President and National Director of AARP Driver Safety Julie Lee said. For most, the initial reaction may be to slam on the brakes but instead, immediately take your foot off the gas, and calmly tap on the brakes, being careful not to over correct, rather go with the slide.
Although Black Ice is harder to see and can form very rapidly on winter roadways, being aware and staying calm can not only help you have a safe winter it can save your life.