Staying safe while driving can be easier said than done, especially when it comes to winter driving and snowstorms. As winter takes hold and temperatures plummet, a silent but deadly threat becomes a reality on our roadways – black ice. Often impossible to see, black ice poses significant risks to both drivers and pedestrians.
It is incredibly important for drivers to remain aware and alert while behind the wheel, especially during winter. In New York, where winter temperatures typically range from approximately 25°F to 40°F and below-average temperatures are expected this February, heightened awareness behind the wheel has never been more imperative.
What is black ice?
Despite its nickname, black ice is actually clear and is sometimes referred to as invisible ice or clear ice. Since black ice is transparent, it coats and blends into whatever surface it covers including roads, sidewalks, and driveways, and that’s part of what makes it so dangerous. Caused by freezing rain and the melting of ice or snow, black ice is extremely slippery and is one of the biggest hazards for drivers during cold weather, catching people off guard which can lead to serious accidents.
According to The Weather Channel, black ice can form if roadways are wet, and the temperature drops under 32°F. Another cause is when moisture in the air condenses and forms dew or fog, and then the temperature drops below freezing. Areas on the road that are prone to black ice include bridges and overpasses because cold air is able to flow underneath, lowering the pavement temperature. Shaded spots that receive less warmth from the sun during the day can also be common areas where black ice is found.
Top safety tips for driving on black ice
Since roads that seem clear may conceal patches of black ice, exercising extreme caution is important during winter months, especially during and after a snowstorm. To ensure you are as safe as possible behind the wheel, it’s important to reduce your speed, avoid sudden movements or sharp turns, and maintain a safe following distance to other vehicles on the road. These extra precautions offer additional reaction time in case your vehicle encounters black ice.
Regularly monitoring weather forecasts for freezing conditions is equally important, and it’s important to remember that black ice forms more often during the early morning and at night, when there’s no sun and the temperatures tend to be colder. To stay as safe as possible, there may be some instances when you should adjust your plans to stay in and/or shift your commute and if possible, you should avoid driving altogether.
If you must drive during these conditions, adopting safety measures like slowing down, increasing your following distance, and using gentle movements including slow acceleration and gradual turning become paramount to prevent an accident on the road.
Help on Long Island
Black ice is an invisible threat that requires heightened awareness and proactive safety measures. Even if you are as diligent as possible behind the wheel, accidents can and do happen and you may find yourself in need of help from a personal injury lawyer. With decades of expertise as a personal injury attorney on Long Island, Mark T. Freeley excels in securing full and fair compensation for his clients, covering medical expenses, future care, loss of income, property damage, and any other considerations relevant to their claims.
If you or someone you know was in a serious car accident on Long Island and needs an attorney, call Mark at 631-495-9435 for an honest conversation.