Boston Traffic Collisions & Risk of Black Ice

With the winter season upon us, so too are the dangerous risks for weather-related car accidents. With snow and ice, we’ve got some serious risks, including unseen black ice.
After snow plowing operations have finished and a roadway is left in the so-called “black and wet” condition, there is sometimes the danger of the water on the road re-freezing. This post-storm treatment of roads is typically needed at night – since temperature drops can be more dramatic than when the sun is shining, according to the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT).

Our Boston car accident lawyers understand that there were roughly 500 car accident fatalities in the U.S. during 2008 and 2009 as a result of icy roads during the winter season. There were another 500 during the 2009-2010 winter season. Accident, injury and fatality rates are much higher during freezing rain and black ice than any other type of road ice condition (including snow and sleet) due to black ice’s invisibility and element of surprise. Preparation is the best way to work to stay out of one of these dangerous and potentially fatal accidents.

Black Ice Safety Tips:

-Know where to expect black ice. Black ice usually forms just about the freezing point. Sometimes in frigid weather conditions on highways, black ice will form due to the heat of tires on the road coupled with the freezing temperature. Keep an eye on the weather and highway reports.

-As soon as your car begins to slide on black ice, take your foot off the gas pedal. In fact, the last thing you want to do is give your vehicle more gas. It is very important to slow down when you are driving on black ice or in any other winter road condition.

-Remember that too much steering can increase your risks for an accident. If a slick section in a turn causes your front tires to lose grip, the common — but incorrect — reaction is to continue turning the steering wheel. That’s like writing checks on an overdrawn account: It won’t improve the situation and may make things worse. If the icy conditions end and the front tires regain grip, your car will dart whichever way the wheels are pointed. That may be into oncoming traffic or a telephone pole.

-Know the tricks. If freezing conditions exist, ice will begin forming on the leading edge of your side mirrors. Open your window and run your finger over the front surface of your driver’s side mirror (and/or have a passenger check on the passenger side mirror). If ice is forming on either mirror, that means it’s cold enough for water to freeze on the roadway.

-Keep your distance. The distance needed to stop on ice is twice as long as under normal driving circumstances. Keep at least a three-car distance from the vehicle directly in front of you.

-Watch your speed. Speed makes you more likely to get in a wreck for a couple of reasons. At higher speeds, you won’t have as much time to react if someone brakes ahead of you, and since it takes twice as long to stop on icy roads, you can easily find yourself in a fender bender. You also have less control over your car at higher speeds, particularly in bad weather.

If you lost a loved one in an accident, contact Jeffrey S. Glassman for a free and confidential appointment to discuss your rights. Call (617) 777-7777.

More Blog Entries:

Keeping Teen Drivers Safe with “5 to Drive”, Boston Car Accident Lawyer Blog, November 18, 2013

Early Dark Increases Risks of Traffic Collisions in Massachusetts, Boston Car Accident Lawyer Blog, November 9, 2013

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