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.

The Importance of Winter Driving Safety

Winter Tire

Don’t get caught out in the cold – be ready for winter with these driving tips!

Winter has a lot of advantages going for it. Food, family, presents – even snow and ice can be pretty once you get past the chilly weather. However, driving in that snow and ice is the hard part, and wondering how to stay safe during the winter months can be a source of concern. Here are a few winter driving safety pointers to minimize and avoid hazards as the cold months creep closer.

First of all, preparation is key. Regular maintenance goes a long way in preventing potential problems, but it’s important to get a checkup before the weather gets chilly. Cold air affects the traction of your tires and their air pressure, reduces battery capacity, makes oil thicker, and overall has several adverse effects on the mechanical parts of your car.

Because of these things, you should always have your tires changed out for seasonal tires and always make sure the air pressure is good. Change the battery if it’s old, and have the oil changed. Keep your car stocked with things such as blankets and changes of clothes, in addition to standard car emergency kit supplies such as jumper cables and flashlights.

Visibility is important, too. Make sure your heating system works, because your defroster will be crucial. Keep an ice scraper around, too.

Follow these tips and you’re on your way to good winter driving safety. Taking care of your vehicle, making adequate preparations, and being stocked well in case of emergency are all key to ensuring you minimize possible accidents and hazards this winter.