Tips for Safe Driving on Black Ice

icy road sign, Tips for Safe Driving on Black Ice

While drivers in Georgia may not encounter heavy snow every year, a very real danger you may face this winter is black ice. The rest of this winter is promising to be wet – and cold. That combination can potentially be deadly if you are not ready for slick road conditions caused by ice.

The danger with black ice is the fact that it can be difficult, if not impossible, to see when you are driving, especially at night. When a driver hits a patch of black ice, they may lose control of their car as it slips, skids, or even spins on the road. While there is not much you can do about black ice on the road, you can take precautions to lessen the risk of being in a wreck caused by wintery roads.

If you are injured in a car accident this winter caused by someone else’s actions or negligence, we can help. The Lawrenceville car accident attorneys at Scholle Law have the skills and experience to fight for the compensation you deserve.

Give us a call at (866) 592-1296 or contact us online for a free, no-obligation consultation today.

What Is Black Ice?

“Black ice” is a bit of a misnomer. It is actually thin, transparent ice that essentially “glazes” the road. Because it is transparent and typically forms at night or in the early morning, it blends into the road, making it all but impossible to see. Black ice forms when there is water on paved surfaces that freezes or refreezes as the temperature drops. Additionally, it can form if air moisture condensates on the road when the temperature is below freezing.

You have probably seen “Bridge Ices Before Road” signs. While black ice can form on just about any paved surface, it is more likely to form on bridges and overpasses. This is because cold air flows both above and below the surface, therefore freezing the road quicker than surface streets may freeze over. In addition, black ice is more likely to form on shaded parts of the road and the bottom of hills, since they are typically cooler than other surfaces.

How to Drive on Black Ice

If the temperature is around or below freezing, you should always prepare for the possibility of black ice, even in Gwinnett County. That means driving more slowly than you normally would and being on the lookout for any glossy surfaces on the road. Though black ice is generally invisible, you may see a sheen on the street, indicative of ice.

While you are driving, keep your full focus on the road ahead. Avoid driving over or under overpasses and in shaded areas, as black ice is more likely to form in these areas. Avoid using cruise control, as this can reduce the amount of attention you give the road. Try to avoid routes with a lot of turns and curves, and make sure you have the right tires for road conditions.

In addition, avoid tailgating. While this is a good practice any time you are on the road, it is especially important when there is ice present, as it is harder to come to a stop. Your windshield and windows should be clear of any ice, snow, or anything else that can hinder your vision. Finally, your headlights should be on any time you are driving in the winter so you have a better chance of seeing the glossiness of black ice.

What to Do If You Hit a Patch of Black Ice infographic

What to Do If You Hit a Patch of Black Ice

Even if you take all the necessary precautions, there is always the chance that you may hit a patch of black ice while you are on the road. If you have ever hydroplaned, you may be familiar with the sensation of losing control of your vehicle. The good news is, even if you do find yourself driving on ice, there are simple steps you can take to avoid being in (or causing) a wreck.

  1. Do not panic. The best way to handle driving on black ice is to stay calm and let your car simply finish traveling over the ice. Of course, this is much easier said then done, especially if you have never lost control of your car on slick road surfaces.
  2. Avoid using your brakes. Brakes are designed to bring your tires to a complete stop. If you hit the brakes on black ice, there is a good chance your car will skid, as the tires are unable to gain the traction from the road required to come to a stop. Instead of braking, gently let up on the accelerator and shift to a lower gear until you are past the patch of ice.
  3. Keep the steering wheel straight. When your tires do not have enough traction, you may skid on the road. As with any slick driving surface, your goal is to keep your car straight if you start skidding. If you find your car turning, gently turn the steering wheel in the same direction as the skid to regain control. Trying to correct the skid by turning the other way can cause you to completely lose control of the car.
  4. Prepare for the worst. The goal of driving is to get from Point A to Point B safely. If you start skidding or even spinning on black ice, try to find areas where there is greater traction, such as sandy or gravelly spots. If you find yourself heading off the road, do your best to aim for a spot where minimal damage will be caused, such as an open field or a runaway truck ramp.

Get the Help You Deserve After a Car Accident in Gwinnett County

Most Southerners simply are not accustomed to driving on wintery roads. After all, how could we forget the “Snowpocalypse” of 2014? While snow is likely not going to be a major issue this winter, black ice is a very real danger this year. By following the steps above, you can avoid patches of ice on the road – or, at the very least, you can safely handle your vehicle if you begin to skid or spin.

Unfortunately, many people have no idea how to drive on black ice. When they lose control of their vehicle, they can cause a devastating collision with other vehicles. If you are involved a wreck this winter, our attorneys are here to help. The Lawrenceville car accident lawyers at Scholle Law have experience with all types of wrecks, and we can help you get the compensation you deserve.

Give us a call at (866) 592-1296 or contact us online for a free, no-obligation consultation today.