Saturday, December 6, 2008

Black Ice

Our office safety person sent out a warning about driving here in Missouri during our inclement (read; freezing my butt off) weather and specifically being careful when driving on "Black Ice."

I thought I'd share it with you.

Black ice typically refers to a thin coating of glazed ice on a surface, often a roadway. While not truly black, it is transparent, allowing the usually-black asphalt/macadam roadway to be seen through it, hence the term. It also is unusually slick compared to other forms of ice on roadways.

When it’s forecasted for temperatures near freezing, always expect black ice. Remember bridges and overpasses freeze before and remain frozen longer than other road surfaces. Also don't forget those shaded areas of road - they can and do hold treacherous ice patches. The following tips are especially relevant to country roads and need to be stressed:

Be exceptionally wary during early morning and late evening when road icing is most likely to occur.

Icy sections are most likely to be found on and under bridges, on high sections of roads, at the top of hills exposed to wind, in valleys and forest, and on roads near rivers, lakes and along foggy areas.

When driving on a wet road, there is always a strong possibility that black ice may lie ahead.

Once on an icy section, do not accelerate, brake, gear down or make a sudden change in steering direction. Keep a safe distance from other vehicles.

If you should get into trouble, try to steer to the edge of the road. Sand and salt from previous road "dustings" may have blown to the road edges by past traffic and may help you regain control.

Finally, the best advice for driving in the wintertime is slow down and drive with care. Driving too fast allows you less time to react and reduces your chances of recovering from a mistake.

It's been 30 years since I've driven in snow and ice, but still I'm more concerned about the other driver hitting me than I am about hitting them because I do take care to slow down and exercise even more caution than usual when driving in these cold, snowy and wet conditions.

1 comment:

Michelle said...

Ah yes, black ice. You should've seen me calling upon all my early driving memories when I was in Wisconsin last winter and I'd hit an ice patch.

"OMG! I'm sliding...oh crap...I think...crap...OMG, I'm still alive. Ok, panic over..." LOL

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