Driving on Black Ice: What You Need to Know to Drive Safely This Winter

Driving during the winter can result in several challenges—black ice on the roads being one example. Black ice, in particular, is a real threat that should not be neglected and is an issue that you should better understand before getting behind the wheel. Here’s what you need to know to drive safely this winter and avoid black ice.


Know where black ice is commonly located. The first step to avoiding black ice is knowing where to find it. Black ice is most likely to form at the point of freezing, so when the temperature is around or below 32 degrees fahrenheit, drive with extra caution. Black ice is also more likely to form at night or early morning, when the temperatures are lower than they are during the daytime. Be careful when driving on highways and roads where there is shade. Black ice tends to form in shaded areas, where there is little sunshine.


If you hit black ice, stay calm. Unfortunately, black ice is very difficult to detect. If you do encounter black ice, stay calm and allow your vehicle to pass over the ice while covering the brake. Touching the brakes will likely lead to skidding and losing control of your vehicle.


If you can find traction, take it. While black ice is nearly invisible, you may be able to find areas of traction, such as snow, sand or salted areas. If you are fortunate to find an area of traction after hitting black ice, head towards it.


Exit the road ASAP. As soon as you can safely get off the road, do so. You’re better off pulling to the side of the road or at a rest stop and waiting for road crews to salt/sand the roads than risking a car crash. Be sure to take your time exiting the highway or road to protect your safety and the safety of other drivers.


Black ice is a dangerous dilemma when driving in the winter. Be prepared in advance by using these tips to reach your destination safely. Protecting yourself by understanding the basics of black ice and what you should do to avoid the issue will pay off in the long run.

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