Wet Road Surface or Not? Watch Out for Black Ice

Published on  Feb 15, 2016. Posted in Car Accidents

It’s a bright, sunny day, but there’s one drawback: it’s very cold. The road looks normal, perhaps just a bit wet or shiny in places. But that’s not the case. The deceivingly wet-looking road surface is actually hiding something far more sinister. It is known as black ice.

Ordinarily, when a roadway looks slick, it’s a pretty safe bet that it is just that. With black ice, this is one of Winter’s worst hazards. This ice is transparent, making it difficult to gauge if the road is slippery until the vehicle moves over it.

Black ice FAQs

Black ice develops when warm air comes into contact with a frozen roadway whose air temperature is 32 degrees Fahrenheit or less at its surface. The cold surface causes any precipitation to freeze, thereby creating the ice. It also occurs when snow refreezes, rain freezes in the atmosphere, or if sleet falls onto the road’s surface.

When temperatures rise, black ice can still persist, particularly in areas such as:

  • tunnels
  • bridges
  • overpasses
  • shady areas due to lack of sunlight
  • tree-covered parts of driveways

When they do happen, vehicle accidents in Illinois caused by black ice can require the help of auto accident lawyers.

How to handle black ice: Tips to stay safe

Driving in black ice conditions is far different than in any other motoring situations. While snow offers traction for tires, there are several precautions that drivers can take when faced with potentially deadly black ice:

  • Check a thermometer to confirm if temperatures are at or near freezing.
  • Pay particular attention to road signs that a bridge freezes before the road surface and use extra caution.
  • Avoid any unnecessary lane changes, drive slowly, and stay at least 200 feet behind the vehicle in front.
  • Lift one’s foot off the accelerator when the vehicle comes into contact with black ice or when first observed.
  • Do not hit the vehicle’s brakes but keep the steering steady, gently steering the wheel in the direction the vehicle is to go, then braking slowly to regain traction.

In this area of the country, black ice is always a strong Winter and early Spring possibility. For anyone who is trying to recover from a motor vehicle accident, Illinois auto accident lawyers are available to help.