The winter season often brings many driving concerns that anyone who uses a vehicle should know about. One of the biggest dangers is black ice. It’s incredibly difficult to spot because it’s clear ice that forms on the road. When vehicles hit black ice, the driver can lose control of the vehicle. If they’re traveling at high speeds or don’t know how to handle black ice, there’s a good chance their vehicle could spin out or swerve out of their lane and collide with another vehicle or fixed object.
Recognizing Black Ice
Black ice can easily blend in with its surroundings, especially at night. However, if you know what to look for, there’s a chance you may be able to spot black ice before you hit it. You’ll be able to slow down or at least be prepared that your car may slide when you drive over it.
Black ice can form when snow melts on the road and then refreezes or when any kind of water is on the road and freezes over. It can have a glossy appearance, so if you see an area that’s shiner than the pavement around it, that could possibly be black ice.
You should also be aware of typical spots for black ice to form. Areas that don’t get sunlight could have black ice. Overpasses, bridges, or areas where water runoff can get stuck and freeze over are more likely to have black ice as well.
Watching the cars in front of you can also inform you about road conditions. If cars are skidding or seem to lose control, it could be because they’re hitting black ice. Their tires can indicate road conditions as well. Tires that are visibly kicking up water are most likely not hitting ice, but no spraying water could mean the road conditions are icy.
You may even consider not driving if you’re unsure about road conditions. If you have the option to stay at home and the weather is calling for poor road conditions, then you don’t have to take unnecessary risks. Taking the time to look ahead and be aware of the weather could save you trouble on the road.
What Happens If You Hit Black Ice?
If you do find yourself in a situation where you’re sliding on black ice, there are a few tips you can follow that will help you maintain some control of the vehicle and perhaps be able to slow or stop your car before a collision occurs.
Your first reaction to sliding will probably be to hit the brakes. However, this can decrease your control of the vehicle because braking locks up your tires and you could skid. It’s better for you to slowly take your foot off the accelerator.
Another typical reaction will be to correct your steering when your car is sliding in a certain direction. If the back end of your car is sliding, turn your wheel gently in that same direction. Your car may straighten out. Oversteering could lead to a spin out.
When you know the roads are icy, you should drive more slowly and allow more space between you and the cars in front of you. This will give you more control and more time to safely navigate your vehicle. It’s imperative that you don’t use cruise control on icy roads. You want to remain in control of your vehicle.
Drivers should always exercise caution in any weather conditions. Give yourself time to get to places so you don’t feel like you need to rush. Stay off your phone so you’re focused on driving and will be prepared for any emergency situations.
Let Welsh & Welsh PC, LLO Help You
An accident caused by black ice can happen out of nowhere. While these tips may help you recognize it, avoid it, or know what to expect if you drive over it, other people may not know these or prioritize safety when driving. Negligence is often the cause of collisions. If this has happened to you, know that you have legal options. Give us a call today and we’ll schedule a free consultation to go over your case.