Driving in wintry conditions brings with it a number of significant hazards and potential risks to health, and we don’t just mean the frustration of trying to get ice off the windscreen first thing in the morning. Top of the list of dangerous road conditions is black ice. All road users should be aware of the dangers of black ice, what it looks like and what the potential consequences are of not spotting it. It is important to employ sufficient caution when driving through places it is likely to be present in.
What are the dangers of black ice?
To better understand the dangers of black ice, it’s important to understand exactly what it is. In the most simplistic terms, black ice is a thin coat of transparent ice. The thinness and transparency make it extremely difficult to spot and it’s named black ice because it looks to be the same colour as the road beneath it.
Black ice is most commonly formed by freezing temperatures following a bout of rainfall or sun melting snow on the roads which then refreezes once the temperature drops below zero. It can also form from a drop in temperature after fogs or dews have been formed from moisture in the air.
The main danger of black ice is simply that it is so difficult to spot. Unless you know exactly what you’re looking for, it’s virtually impossible to notice and even if you’re an experienced driver, it’s all too easy to miss an approaching bit of black ice.
The other significant danger of black ice is just how slippery it is and how much it will affect your vehicle. Nothing makes your heart leap into your mouth quite like that feeling of suddenly losing control of your car.
Precautions to take when driving on black ice
If you are unfortunate enough to be struck by black ice, there are a few things you can do to try and get yourself out of this particular scrape.
- Keep the steering wheel straight. Turning will only increase the chances of sliding and losing control.
- Stay off the brake. Braking too hard will also cause sliding.
- Come off the accelerator. If you have room, it’s best and safest to let the car come to a natural stop.
Have you been injured on the road? Call Accident Advice Helpline to see if you’re eligible for injury compensation today. Our hotline is open 24/7 – dial 0800 689 0500 or 0333 500 0993 from mobiles.
Date Published: February 20, 2017
Author: Accident Advice