Black Ice, What to do?
Winter brings many dangers for motorists, with one of the most threatening being slippery and hard-to-spot black ice.
“The biggest danger with black ice is that you are at the mercy of your vehicle and the ice until your car passes over it,” Vice President and National Director of AARP Driver Safety Julie Lee said.
Black ice forms when the air is at 32 degrees or below at the surface and rain is falling, according to AccuWeather Meteorologist Andrew Mussoline.
The ground temperature causes the precipitation to freeze upon impact, thus creating ice. Sleet and the refreezing of snow or water can also generate black ice.
This type of ice gets its name from its ability to blend in with its surroundings.
“It’s called black ice because it tends to look like the rest of the pavement on the road, but it’s actually clear,” Lee said.
The complexion of black ice makes it extremely difficult to spot, but using a car thermometer as an initial gauge can be helpful in determining the road conditions.
A car thermometer, like any digital thermometer, tries to find the air’s ambient temperature. So, if a vehicle’s thermometer is close to freezing, the car driver should be cautious on the roads.
Tips to stay safe while driving on black ice:
- Do not hit the brakes, instead keep your steering wheel steady.
- Lift your foot off the accelerator.
- Do not over-correct your steering if you feel your car sliding.