Black Ice Creates Top Danger for Winter Driving
Winter driving is dangerous — low temperatures threaten your vehicle’s dependability; snow makes driving slippery and slow; and black ice can make you lose complete control. And unlike low temperatures, which are easily felt and detected by a thermometer, and snow which is hard to miss, black ice is an invisible threat.
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“The most basic definition of black ice is a thin coat of highly transparent ice. The reason it is transparent is because it blends in with road pavements since it is so thin, making it nearly impossible to see. It’s called black ice since it looks black, like the color of the road pavement it forms on,” reports Weather.com Writer Brian Donegan.
AccuWeather.com Staff Writers Kristen Rodman and Ashley Williams report that according to Senior Meteorologist Andrew Mussoline, “black ice forms when it’s raining and air is at or below 32 degrees Fahrenheit at the surface.”
And it likes to hide on overpasses and bridges, according to Donegan.
“Shaded spots on the road are prone since they receive less warmth from the sun during the day,” Donegan writes.
So, how can you navigate this invisible danger?
According to Rodman and Williams, knowledge is power.
“The prime time for the development of this ice is between sunset and sunrise, when temperatures are typically the lowest,” reports Rodman and Williams.
If you’re venturing out at this crucial time, and you come into contact with black ice, don’t turn your wheel, according to Donegan, who advises you to “Keep your wheel straight and do not brake” (which increases your chance of sliding), and “take your foot off the accelerator to reduce speed.”
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By keeping a calm head, staying in control of your wheel, and slowing down can help you safely maneuver your vehicle when your wheels hit a patch of black ice.