Driving on Black Ice: What You Need to Know.
by Erie Insurance
From snow to sleet to freezing rain, severe weather conditions can make winter driving especially difficult.
But perhaps none is more dangerous than black ice. That’s because unlike snow and sleet, black ice can be practically invisible to an unsuspecting driver.
Related: 7 Dangerous Winter Driving Myths… Debunked
The safest thing to do is stay home when conditions call for icy roads – but of course, that’s not always possible. So, what can you do?
What is black ice?
Black ice is a thin layer of ice that can form on road surfaces in cold weather. It gets its name because the depth of the ice makes it practically invisible on pavement. This invisibility is what makes black ice such a dangerous driving surface.
How does black ice form?
Black ice occurs when snow or moisture from the air freezes rapidly, attaching itself to the frozen pavement. Unlike freezing rain, which can appear white or translucent due to trapped air bubbles, black ice is almost perfectly clear.
Where can you commonly find black ice?
Black ice is more common on roads that receive little or no sunlight because the pavement temperature can stay below freezing, even as the air temperature warms. You’re also likely to find it on seldom-used back roads, as well as tunnels, underpasses and bridges.
How do you know if you are driving on black ice?
Because you can’t see black ice, you’ll first notice it when you feel your car start to slide or lose traction. If small shifts in your steering seem to generate an exaggerated response from your vehicle, it’s a sign that you may be driving on black ice.