One of the greatest hazards pedestrians, cyclists and motorists face in winter is black ice. The reason black ice (which in reality is actually a clear layer of very thin ice that has frozen without forming bubbles or any other visible imperfections) is so dangerous is the fact that it is almost impossible to see. Even if it is barely visible, it is often mistaken for water.
Possible signs that a path is covered in black ice
Dark patches on a path may indicate that a path is covered in black ice. You may also catch a little glare of the surface, but as a rule, black ice tends to be very well disguised and you simply cannot know it is there until you slip and fall. It is therefore best to consider when and where you are most likely to encounter patches of black ice and, when those conditions are met, simply assume that a path is covered in black ice and tread carefully.
When and where it is likely that a path is covered in ice
Basically, when air temperatures are below freezing and a path looks as though it may be wet, your best way of preventing slips and trips is to assume that the path is covered in black ice. This is even more so the case in locations where a path is constantly shaded by trees or buildings or forms part of a bridge or overpass, as these locations tend to freeze very quickly.
Home owners, businesses and local authorities have a duty of care to prevent injuries by slips, trips and falls on private and public paths. This not only includes clearing snow and ice on paths, but also preventing ice and black ice forming on paths in the first place by gritting them at the earliest possible time before frost settles in. If this is not done and someone is injured by slipping, the person, company or local authority responsible for the path could be held liable.
Right to claim
In other words, if you suffered an injury by slipping on black ice in the past 3 years, you could be entitled to make a public liability claim. You can find out more about claiming personal injury compensation by speaking to one of our sympathetic Accident Advice Helpline representatives on freephone 0800 689 0500 or 0333 500 0993 from your mobile.