If you live in Colorado or anywhere that experiences icy weather, you’ve likely encountered black ice on the road, which can be very dangerous.
What makes black ice so unique is that there are usually very low levels of visible ice pellets, snow, or sleet around black ice. Also, black ice forms without trapping in air bubbles, which makes it blend in with the surface it forms over.
All of these factors make black ice almost impossible to spot, which leads to challenges when driving on black ice.
If you need to drive on black ice, here are some tips that can help:
Use 4WD (4 Wheel Drive)
Driving on 4WD if possible is always a safer option when driving on icy roads. This is because it gives more traction to all wheels on the car, which is very helpful on black ice.
It is always a good rule of thumb to drive slower on the roads, especially if you are not experienced in driving on roads with black ice. Ideally, speeds should be kept under 45 to be on the safer side but will depend on the amount of ice and traction the road has.
Decelerate to Slow Down
When driving on black ice, you don't want to quickly slam on the breaks, in order to slow down you should ease off the gas pedal slowly. This is the more ideal way when driving on black ice. If you have paddle shifters, you can also slow down that way as well.
Use Traction As Much as You Can
When you are driving on black ice, the more traction you can find the better. This can be extremely helpful for drivers that don't have 4WD. The extra traction from gravel can help drivers stay under control and have a smoother ride.
Know Where to Expect Black Ice
The best plan of action when having to drive on black ice is preparation. This includes knowing where you can expect black ice on your commute.
Black ice typically forms on portions of the road that don’t see much sun, for instance, along a tree-lined route or a tunnel. Less-traveled roads will also likely have more black ice. Additionally, you can expect to see black ice on bridges, overpasses, and the road underneath overpasses.
Know When to Expect Black Ice
Black ice is commonly found on the road in the early morning and evening. You are less likely to encounter black ice during the day, but it may still be present on certain portions of the road.
Lastly, an important tip is to remain patient and calm. Though it can be stressful to drive on black ice, it can be done. Shall you feel you are in danger or need to collect yourself, pulling off to the side is a good option. You can catch your breath and take your time. The more patient, the better when driving on black ice.
It’s not always possible to spot black ice, but it’s important to know what to look out for in case it is visible. Black ice is mostly invisible at night, but you may be able to identify it during the day. If most of the road you’re driving on is a dull black color, but the patch coming up looks shiny, it may be black ice.
If you hit black ice, don’t panic. Instead, do the following:
- Do as little as possible. Allow your vehicle to pass over the ice patch.
- Release your foot from the gas pedal.
- Do not press the brake pedal.
- If possible, shift into a lower gear.
- Keep the steering wheel straight.
- If your back end starts sliding in either direction, turn the steering wheel very gently in the same direction as the slide.
- If you try to turn the steering wheel in the opposite direction, you may skid or spin out.
- Go toward an area with more road traction, such as:
- Textured ice, snow-covered areas, and spots with sand.
If you’ve been injured in a black ice car accident through no fault of your own, you may be owed compensation. Let our team see if we can help you recover it.
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