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Black ice, that thin layer of transparent ice that covers sidewalks, parking spaces, and roads, is dangerous. It is difficult to see, can accumulate rapidly, and is very hazardous for both drivers and pedestrians. All of us who reside in colder regions have at least once encountered black ice. On a gloomy winter day, we are traveling along when all of a sudden, our vehicle loses traction. It’s not always possible for us to regain control.

Ice can develop on top of pavement and roads and is known as “black ice” because of how transparent it is, allowing one to see through it to the dark hue of the road. It can be difficult to see from the driver’s seat and frequently causes an unexpected lack of traction when driving over it, making it extremely dangerous and possibly fatal.

Why is Black Ice So Dangerous?

  • It is almost difficult to see. Transparent black ice frequently develops in low-light situations, like the evenings and early mornings. Due to the absence of sunlight exposure, black ice that has formed in a shaded area is more likely to persist. A thin layer of snow or snow that is blowing around can conceal the existence of black ice.
  • People are duped into thinking there is no ice by warm temps. Most people believe that ice cannot form when air temperatures are above freezing, particularly in late winter and early spring. But what counts is the temperature of the pavement. Ice formation is made possible by frozen ground keeping sidewalks, parking spaces, and roads much colder than the air. 
  • All kinds of ice can be challenging to navigate, but black ice is particularly challenging. If you don’t have traction cleats on or have little to no experience walking on ice, it will be next to impossible to cross the ice safely in those circumstances. Keeping your head back and walking straight with short, flat-footed steps is your best option.
  • There might not be a visible cause for the ice. It is simple to comprehend how melting snow on a sunny day can result in the formation of ice as the sun sets and the temperature drops. What if there isn’t any snow or there are no signs of freezing water? Other reasons for black ice include: Snow on rooftops may melt due to heat loss through a building’s roof, dripping onto the sidewalks and parking area below. Additionally, frequently disregarded as potential causes of parking lot ice are condensation from vehicle exhaust and melting snow from cars.
  • Black ice can develop from dew and fog. Ice formation can occur without the presence of thawing ice, snow, or freezing weather. Fog and dew can solidify on the ground, making the surface dangerous to walk on.

Tips to Stay Safe on Black Ice

The first thing to keep in mind is not to worry if you come across black ice. When we are in a hurry, we often make snap judgments. The general guideline when driving on black ice is to remain calm, avoid overreacting, take minimal action, and let the car pass over the ice. Follow these tips from a black ice expert to drive in dangerous black ice conditions.

  1. Keep your cool and avoid making any rash changes.
  2. Remove your foot from the accelerator. Regaining control will be much simpler if you let up on the accelerator and let the vehicle slow down.
  3. Avoid applying the brakes. Avoid using your brakes at all costs; doing so could cause the car to slide, particularly if you apply too much force.
  4. Don’t attempt to overcorrect your steering; instead, gently turn into the skid. Try to maintain a straight driving wheel. However, if the back end of your vehicle begins to slide left or right, turn the steering wheel in the opposite direction. The idea is to slowly turn the steering column in the direction that you are skidding. You run the danger of sliding and spinning out if you attempt to overcorrect and steer against it.
  5. Apply the gas slowly and as the car gets traction. You will know you have some grip when the skidding stops, your car straightens out, and it slows down. Press the pedal lightly. There might be more black ice patches close, so take caution.

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