White Snow, Black Ice: How to Stay Safe on Black Ice

Black Ice - Steve Lewis Subaru in Hadley, MA

Black ice is one of the many dangers associated with winter driving. This time of year is especially bad when it comes to this hazardous mix of ice, water, and snow, making it important to know how to react in such a situation. We’ve put together a post on how to stay safe on black ice.

According to WikiHow, black ice is similar to regular ice, but earns its eerie name from the difficulty in seeing it. Generally, black ice forms as a glaze over surfaces after light rain, snow, or sleet. It often forms without trapping much, if any, air, making it almost completely transparent.

The best way to stay safe on black ice is to know where it most often occurs. It frequently appears at night or in the early morning when temperatures are low. It forms on shaded parts of the road, as well as lesser-travelled roads. Bridges, overpasses, and other areas that are exposed to cold air also bring about fast-freezing.

While it is transparent, black ice can be detectable if you look right. It appears as a frozen sheet, so look for areas that are especially shiny. Most roads are dull, matte black; however, if you see light reflecting off any surfaces, take extra precaution.

Finally, if you do hit black ice, remain calm. Keep your wheel straight, and DO NOT slam on the brakes. Generally, a safe rule of thumb is to do nothing when you hit a slippery surface. You can lightly press the brakes, especially if you have ABS, and steer in the direction you are sliding if you are in a dangerous situation, as this will slow you faster.

Steve Lewis

Owner and president of Steve Lewis Subaru in Hadley, MA.

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