If you’re driving to visit family this holiday season or planning a getaway for New Year’s, make sure to be especially careful if the weather is bad.
A snow-covered road looks hazardous at first glance. But a road covered in black ice may not be such an obvious danger. Black ice happens when snow or ice on the road melts and then refreezes, coating the road in a clear coating of ultra-slippery ice.
A road covered with black ice can look deceivingly like a dry road. Black ice most often occurs when temperatures are within a few degrees of freezing.
Here are our tips for staying safe when there’s black ice on the road:
- Watch for pavement that is slightly duller and darker than the surrounding road. It’s tricky to spot, but if you pay attention, you may be able to see black ice by sight.
- Beware of roads around bodies of water, in tunnels, or in shady areas, as these are likely places for black ice to accumulate. Bridges and overpasses can be especially dangerous.
- If your car begins to slide, take your foot off of the gas pedal to slow the car, but don’t slam on the breaks. Slamming on the breaks can cause your car to slide out of control. Keep calm, and tap the brakes lightly.
- If your car is skidding, turn the wheel in the direction of the skid. This will help you regain control of the car.
- If you see cars sliding ahead of you, slow down, and downshift to a lower gear. This will give you better control of your car.
- Leave plenty of space between your car and the car in front of you. If drivers ahead slip on the ice, you’ll be able to stop and avoid causing a pileup.
- Make sure your tires are in good condition. Worn tires without much tread can slide much more easily than well-maintained ones.
If you’re concerned about driving conditions, the best way to stay safe is to keep indoors until the dangerous conditions pass. If you must drive in poor conditions, pay attention and take your time.