Black ice is responsible for dozens of auto accidents each year across Ontario, and other locations where freezing temperatures are present. This type of ice forms when freezing rain or snow melts, then re-freezes, thus resulting in a clear and transparent sheet of ice. Often times, people mistake black ice for wet roadways, while they quickly discover the contrary.
Typically, black ice will form in the early morning or at nighttime when the sun is not warm enough to heat the ice, and when the temperature drops. It can also be found in areas which do not receive much sunlight, therefore it is advised to drive carefully through wooded areas, or hills.
In order to become familiar with driving in icy conditions, it may be a good idea to practice driving on ice in a controlled environment; such as a large empty parking lot. This will allow drivers to learn how a vehicle reacts on ice including accelerating, steering and braking. The following tips demonstrate how to drive on black ice:
- Always drive slower through icy or snowy areas
- Always travel with your lights on for safety
- Avoid driving in any adverse weather conditions
- Black ice comes in patches, so your vehicle will usually recover quickly
- If the back of your vehicle is sliding a certain direction, turn your steering wheel that direction. It may prevent you from spinning out of control.
- If you notice black ice, take your foot off the gas and keep your steering wheel aimed where you want to go.
- Maintain tires for winter driving
- Never make sudden movements such as braking, steering, or accelerating
- Never use cruise control in bad weather conditions
- Practice defensive driving techniques
These safety tips can be used to prevent accidents from occurring in most winter driving situations, while they may not prevent all accidents from occurring. However, by paying attention at all times, we can each do our best to avoid accidents and remain safe across our roadways.