Black ice is one of the most dangerous situations people face while driving during winter. Secure your winter driving safety by reducing the chances of an auto accident caused from the unknowns of black ice. Educate yourself with the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about black ice.
What Is Black Ice?
Black ice is a thin coating of frozen water on top of a roadway. While normal ice has air bubbles and usually leans towards the outside of the highway, black ice has no bubbles and is the same thickness throughout. Additionally, it can be found anywhere on the roadway. Black ice is so dangerous because it is nearly impossible for you to see it in time to react to changing road conditions.
How Does Black Ice Form?
One way that black ice forms is that light rain or snow falls onto the frozen road surface. Then, it turns to ice. This type of black ice is most prevalent on elevated surfaces, such as bridges, as ice often forms there first.
Another common time that you may encounter black ice is when temperatures change rapidly. Black ice often forms as moisture reaches the ground where it freezes rapidly when the air temperature is warmer than the ground temperature. This often occurs as snow is melting and then temperatures drop causing it to refreeze.
Regardless of how it is formed, black ice is extremely dangerous because it is hard to see the incredibly thin layer of ice. In fact, many people find it more challenging driving on black ice than if the ice-covered roadways.
Where Is Black Ice Found?
Certain streets, highways and thoroughfares are more vulnerable to black ice than other areas. Recognizing these areas allows you to drive more defensively or choose a different path so that you avoid them altogether. These areas include:
- Backroads are more prone to black ice than busier roads as tires keep the water surface broken up keeping it from freezing. Therefore, it is a great practice to anticipate black ice when turning into a residential neighborhood even if the major highway has seemed normal.
- Shaded Roads, or stretches of a road where the sun is blocked by overhanging trees, large hills or other obstacles, are vulnerable to black ice. Since these areas are not impacted by the sun’s radiant heat as much, black ice often lasts longer there.
- Tunnels and underground roads often experience black ice because the sun’s rays cannot get to them either.
- Bridges are often particularly treacherous because of black ice. Since the cold air and moisture can get above and below them, they often develop black ice first.
What Happens When Driving On Black Ice?
Black ice’s slick surface can send your vehicle careening unexpectedly. You may also find that your car starts shifting, making the vehicle harder to control. Additionally, your car can skid very easily and unexpectedly.
Your car will stop much slower when you are driving on black ice. While experts say that it takes 60 feet to stop a car going 20 miles an hour on dry pavement, if you are on black ice, your stopping distance could increase to 540 feet. Likewise, if your car normally stops in 314 feet when you traveling at 70 miles an hour on dry pavement, your stopping distance may increase to 2,826 feet.
Do you know how to recover from skidding on icy roads? Check out defensive driving safety tips in the event you end up driving on icy roads.
Does Auto Insurance Cover Black Ice Accidents?
It depends on the insurance coverage that you have. If you slide on snow or ice while driving and hit another vehicle or anything else, you would be at-fault. A fully-comprehensive auto insurance policy will cover accidents caused by sliding on snow or ice. Contact a KVIS & Coe insurance agent to make sure you are protected or to help choose the right auto policy that covers collisions involving snow or ice.
Even the most educated and experienced drivers can find themselves in accidents, especially when driving in snow and ice during winter. Make sure you are prepared for the unexpected with the best auto insurance coverage and lowest rates.
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