How to Spot Black Ice
Why is black ice called black ice? Because it’s nearly impossible to see while driving. Though ice may sometimes appear white, alerting you to the possibility of a slick surface, black ice is different. It is particularly dangerous because it is thin and has few imperfections, meaning you see the dark colors of the roadway beneath the ice rather than the ice itself. But thankfully, we have a few tips for how to spot black ice that we suggest keeping in mind during the winter months.
Tips for Driving on Black Ice
- The best thing you can do during any winter weather driving is to drive cautiously. Don’t speed or drive haphazardly.
- If the road appears particularly dark in color, this could be a sign that black ice is present.
- If the road appears wet, this is also a potential warning indicator. Though it may simply be water, a wet-looking road surface during the winter can also signify the presence of black ice.
- Though you may not always be able to see black ice with your eyes, you can certainly watch out for situations conducive to black ice formation, such as on bridges, overpasses or in the shade.
- If you think or notice that you are driving on black ice, use caution and avoid any sudden vehicle motions.
- Avoid using cruise control.
- When it is necessary to make a steering maneuver, do so smoothly rather than jerking the wheel.
When Does Black Ice Form?
Those are just a few tips for driving on black ice that you will want to consider. But the best way to spot situations that could produce black ice is by simply knowing how black ice forms. One way black ice forms is when rainfall occurs during a time when the air temperature near the road’s surface is at, or below, the freezing point. Black ice can also occur should ice or snow melt and refreeze on the roadway surface. Therefore, always be aware of the temperature while driving and be extra cautious even if the temperature is slightly above freezing, as the roadway surface temperature may not be the same as the outside air.
[Read more: Benefits of using all-wheel drive for winter driving]
Now that you have some tips for how to spot black ice, be sure to get your vehicle ready for the winter months. Contact us at Mazda of Lodi to learn what you can do to winterize your vehicle, and as always, drive safe.