How to Spot Black Ice and What To Do If You Lose Control


Black ice, also known as clear ice, is a thin, transparent layer of ice. It earned its name of black ice by resembling the pavement below it and appearing black due to its transparent film. Black ice often forms when the air temperature is warm enough for precipitation to appear as rain, but the ground temperature is still freezing, causing it to ice on contact. Black ice tends to be one of the biggest driving hazards during the wintertime, and it’s important to know how to spot it and what to do if you begin to lose control driving over it.


Common Places for Black Ice

During the winter season, you should always drive with extra caution whether it recently precipitated or not. Bridges and overpasses will ice before the roadway due to the air temperature’s ability to freeze the structure from the surface as well as underneath. It’s also important to take caution when driving on roads that do not receive a lot of sunlight, whether its due to heavy tree coverage or it's been cloudy the past few days. Black ice is likely to form between sunset and sunrise as temperatures drop, and without sunlight these icy patches are likely to linger. 


Don’t Overreact 

If it’s daylight out, you may be able to spot black ice ahead as the road will appear to have a glossy look to it. If you’re unable to spot black ice before you drive over it, it’s important to not overreact. Don’t slam on the brakes or jerk the steering wheel. Reacting with panic will cause an accident. Instead, remain calm and keep your foot off the gas and brake. Only turn the steering wheel if your rear-end fishtails one way or the other. Turn your steering wheel in the direction your rear-end went. Don’t fight it and turn your steering wheel the opposite way, or you may spin-out. Once you are over the ice and regain control of your vehicle you may slowly begin to accelerate again.


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Categories: Tips
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