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Tips for Spotting Black Ice on the Roads

The Ultimate in Safety, Service and Satisfaction

As the weather outside turns frightful, it may be time to turn your eye to one of the most dangerous hazards on the road: black ice. Black ice can quickly spin a vehicle out of control and it's almost always invisible. Formed when ice and snow melts and then refreezes, black ice can be in any area that has had below freezing temperatures in recent days and it can continue to exist for some time after the initial rain.

  • Pay attention to the weather. Black ice forms in specific circumstances, generally when the weather has been erratic and gone between freezing, warmer and then freezing again. These are times when you must be more cautious.
  • Be careful on older roads. Pools of water form black ice so it stands to reason that older roads, with more pot holes and pitted surfaces, will have a higher likelihood of having black ice.
  • Look at the reflections of the light. Black ice is almost invisible but it does appear in the form of gloss on the road. If you see a bright reflection, avoid it.
  • Don't assume it's just water. You should not go through water anyway; you can aeroplane. But black ice often looks quite a bit like undisturbed water.
  • Avoid tree-covered areas. Areas that are to the side of the road and are covered by trees are more likely to have black ice. You should avoid these areas as much as possible and stick to the center of the road.
  • Practice what to do in your head. One of the reasons black ice is so dangerous is because people panic. Go over what you would do if you encountered black ice. Remember that you are supposed to steer into a skid by pointing your wheels in the direction that you are traveling. Never stomp on your brakes.

If you're concerned about black ice, it may be best simply not to drive at all and to hire a driver for you. Even if you know the above tips, black ice simply cannot be seen sometimes, requiring very fast instincts to compensate. Some people can, and some people can't. A trained driver will know what to do.

Posted on Jan 07 2015

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