Each year, over 800 people die in the U.S. in auto crashes caused by winter weather such as snow and ice.
Driving on black ice is particularly dangerous because many times you don’t see it ahead of time until it’s too late.
Read on to learn how to drive on black ice to prevent a winter car accident this year.
What is Black Ice?
Black ice is actually not black. Black ice is clear but often looks black because of the pavement underneath.
Black ice is often a very thin sheet of ice on the road. It is very difficult to see it. That’s what makes it so dangerous.
It forms on the road due to melting snow that then freezes. Or due to standing water on the road that freezes when temperatures drop.
You will mostly find black ice when the temperatures are the lowest during that day.
Black ice is common in places where there isn’t much sunlight. This includes tunnels or roads with lots of trees blocking the sun. Black ice is often found on bridges and overpasses because the cold winter air cools both the top of the road and underneath it at the same time.
Check out these 3 tips to stay safe during winter driving.
What to Do If You Hit Black Ice
The most important thing you need to remember to do when driving on ice is to stay calm.
You want to do as little as possible to avoid losing control of the car. Don’t slam on the brakes or jerk the car in either direction.
Instead, take your foot off the gas and keep your steering wheel straight. You want to let your car glide over the patch of ice so that you can resume driving. If you can, gear down.
Slowing your speed down will give you more control. Going slowly will also prevent serious injury and damage.
If you feel the back of your car sliding in one direction, gently turn the wheel in the same direction. Yes, that’s right, in the same direction. Turning the car the other way can cause you to skid or spin out of control.
Generally, black ice patches are no larger than 20 feet. If you stay calm and don’t make any sudden movements, you should be able to get through the patch of ice without incident.
What to Do If You Lose Control on Black Ice
If you lose control of your car on black ice, try to stay calm. Hopefully, you will have reduced your speed quite a bit before you spin out.
If you can, steer your car into whatever will cause the least amount of damage. The field, an empty front yard or a fluffy snowbank would be best.
Sometimes you have no choice and no control. But you can try to reduce damage if possible and try to avoid causing a multi-car pileup.
With winter just around the corner, make sure you learn how to drive on snow and how to drive on ice. Also, make sure your car is winter ready to avoid any collisions this winter.
If losing control on black ice results in a collision, contact an auto accident attorney at Maurer Law. We can get you the help you need.