Winter Driving Reminder: Watch Out for Black Ice

When the air temperature is warmer than pavement, moisture on the road rapidly freezes and the result is a thin, transparent layer of what is commonly known as “black ice.” Because black ice is transparent, the road’s surface will have a slightly wet appearance, which is why black ice is so dangerous. People often don’t realize they’re driving on it until they lose control.

Although it can form on any surface, shady areas, overpasses and bridges are the most common spots where you’ll find black ice.

To minimize the danger when driving on black ice:

  • Don’t tailgate. Maintain at least a three second distance from the vehicle directly in front of you. Remember to add one second for large vehicles and each adverse condition, such as bad weather, reduced visibility or congested traffic.
  • Accelerate slowly to avoid losing traction. If you need to turn, do so slowly and carefully.
  • Avoid hitting your brakes. It is practically impossible to stop a moving vehicle on black ice.
  • Keep your foot off of the accelerator. If your car begins to slide, turn the wheel in the direction of the skid.
  •  If you think you are approaching a patch of black ice, put the car into neutral gear and let the momentum carry you over the slippery patch.
  • Avoid passing lanes, which may contain even more black ice than well-traveled lanes.
  • Don’t use cruise control. You need to be in full control of your vehicle.

According to the Department of Transportation, 17 percent of all vehicle crashes occur during winter conditions. Remind employees to use caution when driving.

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