Danger of Black Ice

December 22nd, 2016 by Patrick Hogan

Black ice forms on the roadway when the surface temperature falls to 32 degrees Fahrenheit or below.  This phenomenon usually occurs suddenly.  A driver can be traveling down a wet road without any difficulty and suddenly the situation changes.  Ice.  Almost as quickly as the road turned into a skating rink, it can change back to an innocent wet roadway.  Freezing conditions occur at 32 degrees and can thaw quickly when the surface temperature goes up slightly. 

Black ice is invisible.   It is difficult or impossible to tell black ice from a wet roadway.  They appear virtually the same.  The best way to defend against the dangers of black ice is to avoid it.  Accidents are not uncommon under black ice conditions.

Those experienced with winter driving prepare for the seasonal change in driving conditions.  Recommended preparations include making sure one’s vehicle is in good mechanical condition.  Brakes should be checked and repaired as needed.  Antifreeze protection is also important.  Tires are one of the most important safety items on a car.  Having proper tire inflation and tread are critical to providing the best traction on the road.  Some get studded snow tires in the winter to give an extra layer of protection during winter operation.  California allows studded tires on the road from November 1st through April 30th. 

Studded tires are not a sure fire way to win the battle against black ice.  They are best on snow.  Studded tires do not help on black ice.  They can add nothing more than acting like ice skates.  The best way to not be a victim to it is to avoid it all together.  Avoiding black ice is not always possible.  California has a variety of climates, weather expectations, and highway experiences.  One can leave summertime temperatures in the south and within no time experience snowfall in the mountains.  This ability makes California a wonderful place to live but brings with it many hazards. 

Staying aware of potential hazards can help drivers be prepared for changing environments.  Know the risks of driving where black ice can occur.  Contact an experienced law firm if you are involved in an accident regardless of the circumstances.

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