Winter weather can bring beautiful snow caps and frosted trees, but it can also bring icy roads that create hazardous driving conditions. As drivers inch along, one of the most treacherous things they may encounter is black ice. Even the most experienced drivers can lose control of this nearly invisible surface, leading to devastating consequences.
Unfortunately, statistics reveal that vehicle crashes on snowy, slushy, or icy pavement result in over 1,300 fatalities and more than 116,800 injuries each year. Therefore, it's crucial for drivers to stay alert, slow down, and stay safe during this slippery season.
What is Black Ice?
Black ice is a thin layer of ice that forms on road surfaces during freezing temperatures. It gets its name from the fact that it's transparent and blends with the pavement, making it difficult to see. This often leads to drivers not realizing they are on an icy patch until it's too late.
Black ice is commonly found on bridges, overpasses, and areas of the road shaded by trees or other objects. Bridges and overpasses are likely areas to have black ice because cold air can flow beneath the road surface. Areas on the road that are shaded can have black ice because that area receives less warmth from the sun.
Why is Black Ice Dangerous?
Black ice is particularly hazardous for drivers because its transparency makes it difficult to spot, and it provides very little traction. This increases the risk of drivers losing control of their vehicles and getting into accidents.
Tips on How to Drive on Ice
To safely navigate icy roads and black ice, it's essential to practice the following driving techniques:
One of the most effective ways to stay safe while driving on ice is to reduce your speed. This gives you more time to react to any potential hazards and allows for better control over your vehicle.
Leave Plenty of Stopping Distance
Compared to driving on dry pavement, you need 10 times the stopping distance on an icy road.
Avoid Changing Lanes
If it is possible, try to avoid changing lanes and avoid the shoulder of the road where ice can build up. If conditions are particularly icy or even slushy, don’t pass other vehicles.
Be Cautious on Bridges
As mentioned earlier, bridges and overpasses are common spots for ice. Be sure to drive carefully through these areas and drive slowly.
Don't Use Cruise Control
When driving on icy roads, it's best to avoid using cruise control. This allows you to maintain better control over your vehicle and make appropriate adjustments to your speed based on road conditions.
Don't Slam on Your Brakes if Your Car Floats
If you find yourself moving with less control on an icy road, avoid slamming on your brakes, as this can cause you to lose control of your vehicle. Instead, try to remain calm and ease off the gas while turning the wheel gently in the direction you want to go.
Steer Into Skids
Counter-intuitive as it may sound, it's essential to steer into a skid if you start to slide on an icy road. This means turning the wheel in the direction that the back of your car is sliding. This can help you regain control of your vehicle by straightening it out.
Call Us After an Accident
Driving on ice and black ice can pose significant challenges, even for experienced drivers. By practicing the tips above, you can reduce the risk of accidents and maintain better control over your vehicle.
If you or a loved one are injured in a car accident due to another driver’s reckless driving, contact our car accident attorneys at May, Rammell & Wells. Our team is dedicated to investigating our clients’ cases and utilizing our resources to pursue the compensation you deserve.
Contact our team to learn more about how we can help. Dial (208) 623-8021 or fill out our form online.