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New England Winter Driving: Staying Safe on Black Ice

When the air temperature is warmer than the pavement, moisture in the air or from precipitation can freeze rapidly on the road. As a result of the rapid freezing, a very thin layer of ice can form. This thin layer of ice is normally transparent, meaning all you see is black like the pavement below.

Black ice.

Black ice is extremely dangerous because of the fact that you don’t see it and you don’t know it is there. Since it catches you off guard, you don’t have time to slow down, practice defensive driving or employ safe driving techniques for getting over an ice patch. You simply encounter the ice and have to react. Our Boston injury attorneys want to help make sure you react in a way that helps you avoid an accident. As such, we’ve provided some tips for staying safe if you encounter a patch of black ice.1380245_winter_street_scenery.jpg

Tips for Safe Driving on Black Ice
The single most important tip that will keep you safe when it comes to driving on black ice is to be aware of when it is most likely to form. Keeping up with weather alerts is a simple and easy way to stay aware of when black ice is on the roads. On January 8 2013, for example, CBS Boston warned that falling temperatures overnight would result in black ice in the morning. These types of warnings are issued commonly during the Boston winters and by simply watching the weather report, you’ll learn when there is a danger of black ice.

When you know in advance that black ice is on the road, you can be vigilant in watching for signs of slippery asphalt. You can also slow your speed to account for the more dangerous road conditions.

Outside of staying aware of when black ice is likely to be on the roads, there are also some other key driving tips for avoiding an accident on black ice. Some tips for driving safely on black ice include:

  • Braking only as you approach the black ice and never braking while driving on the ice. Putting pressure on the brakes can cause your car to skid.
  • Maintaining a safe following distance. It can take you twice as long to stop on ice as it does on dry pavement. As such, you should try to keep at least three car lengths in between you and the car in front of you so you can leave yourself ample time to stop.
  • Taking your foot off of the gas pedal when your car starts to slide. You don’t want to provide more gas when your car is sliding on its own momentum.
  • Staying calm. Panicking is the worst thing you can do as this can lead to you trying to slam on the brakes, wildly turn the steering wheel or otherwise doing things that increase your chance of getting into a crash.

By following these tips and by being aware of when you are likely to encounter black ice, hopefully you can stay safe during the Boston Winter driving season.

If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in a car accident, contact Jeffrey S. Glassman for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your rights. Call 1-877-617-5333.

Additional Resources:
Everyone Can Do Their Part to Stop Drunk Drivers, Boston Car Accident Lawyer Blog, December 31, 2012.