With winter comes new driving hazards to look out for. It can prove difficult to drive when we see that it is raining heavily, sleeting, or snowing. But one of the most dangerous driving hazards we are unable to see – that is black ice.
An Invisible Menace
According to an online resource, road icing kills twice as many people annually as tornadoes, hurricanes, lightning, and severe thunderstorms combined.
A vice president and national director of AARP Driver Safety believes that ice’s invisibility is in fact one of the most dangerous aspects of it. She explained that this is because people are ultimately at the mercy of their car and the black ice, until they have successfully moved over it.
Winter: A Breeding Ground for Black Ice
We see an increase in dangerous black ice during the winter months, as it usually forms when it is raining, and the air is no more than 32 degrees Fahrenheit at the surface of the road.
This low temperature, the freezing point of water, causes rain or sleet to freeze upon impact, which in turn creates ice. It is called black ice because of its ability to look like the rest of the road; but the ice itself is clear.
What Can You Do?
So how do we prevent accidents due to black ice if we cannot see it? There are many steps that we can take to diminish the risk. These include:
- Take a look at your car’s external thermometer, if you have one. Though not accurate, it can help to give you an idea of the outside temperature.
- Examine the roadway during the day before driving.
- Avoid bridges, overpasses, and roads covered by trees or otherwise, as the lack of sun increases time for any ice to melt.
- Look at your area’s weather forecast before driving.
- Stay calm and allow the vehicle to pass over spots you believe to be black ice.
- Administer salt and sand to roadways in order to neutralize black ice (this is less effective if temperatures are at 15 degrees Fahrenheit or lower).
- Try to avoid most driving during the hours between sunset and sunrise, as this is when temperatures are usually at their lowest.
- Do not speed.
- Do not stop while going up a hill.
Here are the five most important safety precautions for driving on icy roads, according to the National Safety Council (NSC):
- Maintain a following distance of at least five-seconds (two to three car lengths) from the vehicle in front of you; it takes twice as long to stop on black ice.
- Remain extra vigilant when driving on bridges, overpasses, and tunnels.
- Be cautious early in the morning; air temperature increases faster than ground temperature and can be misleading.
- Do not overcorrect your steering if you feel your car begin to slide.
- Avoid hitting the brakes while on ice, as this can cause the car to skid. Instead, hold the steering wheel steady.
Delaware Car Accident Lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC Help Those Who Have Been Injured Driving on Ice
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, it is important to engage a lawyer who has the knowledge and experience to help you. The Delaware car accident lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC help individuals in Delaware, including Wilmington, Bear, Middletown and Dover, as well as Pennsylvania and New Jersey. For a free consultation call 302-888-1221 or contact us online today.