How to Drive on Black Ice

Black Ice Can Creep Up on a Driver

Winter driving is not just about snow. On days when temperatures fluctuate, ice on the road can be a real threat. Black ice, is dangerous because it is somewhat invisible to drivers. It is a glaze that forms on surfaces, particularly across raised surfaces such as bridges and overpasses. It can be created as a result of light freezing rain or melting and re-freezing of ice and snow. It is referred to as black ice because it blends into the pavement. It can be hard to detect by drivers in advance.

Black ice usually forms just about the freezing point temperature. Black ice also forms primarily at night or in the early morning when temperatures are at their lowest. Black ice tends to form on parts of the roadways where there is little sunshine and where is may be less traffic. Overpasses and bridges are common spots for black ice. Cold air will cool the top and underneath of a bridge or overpass, resulting in faster freezing of the road’s surface.

Signs of Black Ice

While black ice is transparent, it can be detected under the right lighting conditions if you are looking for it on the road. It is a very glossy sheet in comparison to the otherwise dull road surface. Make sure that you keep your eyes on the rest of the road and surroundings.

Practice Black Ice Winter Driving

Young Drivers of Canada encourages all drivers to take a winter driving course periodically to refresh or re-learn good winter driving habits. Drivers should upgrade their skills when it comes to driving on snow and ice, braking on snow and ice surfaces and how to recover from a slide or skid on a slick and icy surface.

If you do encounter black ice, drivers are encouraged not to overreact and remain calm. Do not hit the brakes and keep the vehicle’s steering wheel straight. If the rear of your car slides out, gently turn the steering wheel to the direction of the slide. Do not over correct or you will lose control. Drivers should also slow down by de-accelerating and not braking. Slowing down will allow for better vehicle control. Putting on the brakes will cause you to skid, most likely, out of control. Remember, winter driving usually lasts for only 4 months!