The Perils of Black Ice

The Perils of Black Ice


Black ice is a thin, transparent layer of ice that can be found on pavements, roads, bridges and overpasses. The reason why it is called "black ice" is its appearance on top of asphalt - which makes the ice itself appear black in colour. Black ice can form after a rainfall event, fog event, or when temperatures rise above freezing during the winter, melting snow and causing wet conditions. After one of these events, and when temperatures drop at/below freezing while the ground is still wet, black ice forms. 

Black ice is dangerous because it is hard to immediately notice. As a result, is it very important for everyone to know the precautions to take when driving in icy conditions. If you encounter black ice, remember these precautions:1

  • Keep your steering wheel straight. If you turn the wheel, you have a better chance of sliding and losing control of your vehicle.
  • Do not brake. Braking causes the vehicle to slide, especially if you brake too hard.
  • Take your foot off the accelerator to reduce speed. It is best to let the car stop on its own if you have enough room in front of you.

General safety precautions when driving in both snowy and icy conditions are:

  • Reduce driving speed, and decelerate or accelerate slowly
  • Leave plenty of space between you and the vehicle infront of you
  • Be attentive and wary of your surroundings

Similarly, when walking on sidewalks during icy conditions, wear shoes/boots that have good grip, walk slowly, and grab onto a railing if possible. Downloading a weather app or tuning into your local weather station will help to inform you when and if icy conditions are present or when they will occur so you can be prepared. If conditions get very icy, opt to stay home. 

We hope all of our readers stay safe and have a fun Winter season!

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