Safe winter driving tips for black ice

Authorities across the area were reporting slide-offs and bad road conditions because of the snow on Monday.

Black ice is a big concern when winter precipitation starts to fall. Even after it’s not longer snowing and the roads may look fine, it could be worse than you think.

It can form on roadways even if the ground is above freezing, but the main concern is on bridges and overpasses.

On a normal road, the warmer ground temperature can keep the water or slush on the road from freezing. However, on bridges, that warmer ground temperature is gone. Cold air is able to flow above and below the bridge, meaning black ice can form on the surface. Black ice can be hard to see, which can lead to crashes.

You may be wondering why that happens with snow, even little amounts. That’s because friction from your tires melts the snow, turns it into water, and then freezes again. This can create a thin sheet of ice which can be hard to see.

That’s why you need to know the weather conditions including the temperature before getting on the roads. Drive with caution and slow down. If you hit a slick spot or black ice, stay calm. Do not overcorrect your car. Refrain from slamming on your brakes, instead take your foot off the accelerator and steer into the skid.

Chelsea Smith

Chelsea Smith

Meteorologist Chelsea Smith is part of the WGEM Storm Track Weather team.

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