Black Ice - Not Nice

DRIVING | August 2016

Black ice is often formed after a light rain, and when ground temperature is at zero degrees or lower. Water will freeze quickly onto the road and usually doesn’t have any bubbles, making the ice practically invisible. It’s most common at night or early in the morning and it’ll stick around in shaded areas where sunlight won’t reach, and on bridges where air rushing over and under will keep the ground freezing.

How to find black ice

Before getting in the car, look at the footpath. If that’s dry, but there are darker, glossy patches, then that’s probably black ice. The conditions above are to be noted, if it’s freezing and there’s been a bit of rain, chances are, there’ll be black ice on the road.

Driving on black ice

The number one rule is: If there’s a chance of black ice along your route, don’t drive at all if you have to.

There’s a difference between driving on snow and driving on ice, as snow still allows for a small amount of traction, whereas there’s none if you were to happen across some black ice. If you have to drive, do so slowly and keep plenty of following distance (more than you usually would in bad weather).

If you do hit a patch of black ice:
  • Keep calm, avoid sudden braking or direction changes.
  • Keep the steering wheel steady and slowly ease your foot off the accelerator.
  • As soon as you’ve stopped sliding, pull over at the next safest place and avoid driving until the sun has melted the ice or the road has been treated.

Black ice is by far one of the most dangerous ways the weather affects the road. At high speeds, unstoppable slides can be fatal. Instead of driving, here are some things you could do instead:

  • Make and eat coconut ice.
  • Listen to some Vanilla Ice.
  • Play a game with some dice.
  • Do some online shopping for a reasonable price.
  • Play a mind-numbing game on a favourite device.
  • Need something for dinner? Try some fried rice.