There’s no doubt the winter months present challenges to drivers. One of the most dangerous involves black ice.
Not 100 percent sure of how to handle this threat? Then you’ll want to check out our next few posts which can help make your winter travels safer every mile of the way.
Temperatures warmer than the pavement cause moisture on the ground to freeze rapidly and attach itself to the pavement. Sudden changes in temperature–which are common after winter storms–often cause snow to melt onto roadways and create black ice.
Black ice can also form when snow or light rain falls on still-frozen concrete, turning it to ice upon contact. This quick freezing is what gives black ice its signature thin layer.
Black ice gets its name because the narrowness of the ice makes it practically invisible once it’s frozen against the pavement. This invisibility is what makes black ice one of the most dangerous surfaces for drivers.
One of the most dangerous aspects of black ice is that it’s nearly invisible. In fact, it takes drivers a while before they realize they are driving on black ice.
If you’re driving on black ice, the first thing you’ll notice is how slippery it is. Black ice is created by a small coating of frozen moisture on top of the pavement, making it more slippery than regular ice because it lacks air bubbles or slope variations that could provide traction. Experts estimate that the distance required to stop your vehicle while traveling on black ice is about nine times the distance required to stop your vehicle while traveling on dry pavement.
Shifts in your steering column that generate an exaggerated response are another telltale sign that you’re driving on black ice. When you are driving on black ice, shifts of the steering wheel can quickly cause your vehicle to skid.
Next up: What Roads are More Vulnerable?