Black ice is a dreaded winter driving nightmare in Missouri. Slick conditions and limited visibility can make a recipe for disaster when your family is in the car.
Interestingly, black ice is not actually black. Rather, it’s a translucent, icy glaze on the road’s surface that appears black atop tarmac. Since it blends in so well with the road, it can be nearly impossible to see.
Black ice can form in a variety of ways, but mainly does so through melting snow. This driving hazard is most prominent during the early morning and evening hours when the sun is not strong enough to melt the ice.
According to the USDA:
“If you feel the back end of your car sliding left or right, make a very gentle turn of the steering wheel in the same direction. If you try to struggle against it by steering in the opposite direction, you risk skidding or spinning out.”
Below are some other important safety tips which can help you stay safe in this hazardous winter driving condition:
- Take special care driving on bridges, overpasses, lightly traveled roads, and tunnels since these areas tend to freeze first.
- If you hit black ice, remain calm and try to keep the steering wheel straight.
- Do not hit the brakes, but rather slowly ease off the gas pedal.
- Shift into a lower gear to gain more control.
- Avoid using cruise control during possible black ice and other winter conditions.
- Keep a 5-second following distance from the vehicle in front of you.
- Don’t overcorrect your steering wheel if you feel your car is sliding on black ice.
- If you start skidding towards an accident, there are two different ways to handle the situation depending on which kind of car you have. If your vehicle has an antilock braking system (ABS), place your foot on the brake firmly and the car will pump the brakes for you as you skid. If you don’t have ABS, pump the brakes gently as you skid.
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