Everything You Need to Know About Black Ice

As the seasons shift and winter welcomes us with blistering cold, traveling in inclement weather gets more dangerous. The biggest threat on the roadways is clear ice, also known as black ice, formed from lingering puddles or sleet and freezing rain. Black ice consists of a thin layer of ice coating a surface and often appears black as the roadway beneath it. Understanding how black ice forms and how to identify it, as well as what to do if you encounter it on the road is important safety knowledge for any driver venturing out in the winter.

Black ice forms two ways. The most common form is when precipitation falls as rain, but ground temperatures are below 32 degrees Fahrenheit. This freezing ground temperature causes the rain to freeze on impact, creating dangerous driving conditions. Black ice will often linger and become a common winter-time threat on roadways that see little sunlight, whether it’s due to heavy tree coverage or gloomy cloud coverage. If your commute involves roadways that are unable to warm-up during the winter, drive with caution.

Be Prepared

Prepare the best you can when driving on roads that may have black ice. Be sure to put winter tires on your car if possible, or that your current tires have proper tread. When traveling on the road, be sure to drive cautiously at an appropriate reduced speed. If your vehicle finds its way traveling on black ice, resist braking. Slamming on the brakes and reacting with jerky steering wheel motions will only increase your risk of causing an accident.

Instead, if your vehicle is front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive, you must turn your steering wheel into the skid and guide your steering wheel whichever direction your vehicle begins to skid in. It’s important to remain calm and avoid oversteering, or your back end will travel in the opposite direction. Be sure to avoid hitting the brake pedal or accelerator while traveling on the ice. Once you’ve made it past the ice patch, you can gently apply the accelerator and straighten your vehicle out.

If you’re not sure how your vehicle will fair this winter, stop by Carman Ford in New Castle and check out our all-wheel drive inventory! For more helpful tips and reminders, be sure to follow our blog posts and sign up for our notifications.

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