Here in Utah we experienced a pretty rough morning of black ice and freezing rain. To our friends around the world that have these conditions often, we salute you and your patience and bravery. According to the Utah Highway Patrol Crash Totals started coming in: so far 180. We’ve never seen conditions like this. To better prepare for the future, here is a “how to” on navigating and controlling your car on black ice.
1. Understand that black ice is like regular ice. It’s called “black ice” because it tends to look like the rest of the pavement on the road, although in reality, it’s actually clear.
2. 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.
3. Know when to expect black ice. See the signs of black ice. If you are driving and see cars suddenly swerve for no apparent reason, black ice is a likely cause.
4. Know how to see black ice – sometimes. While black ice is transparent, it can sometimes be seen in the right lighting conditions – if you are looking for it. Black ice almost always forms in very smooth, very glossy sheets. This glossy surface is your indication of potential black ice.
5.Practice driving on slippery surfaces. Find a nice, large, empty parking lot with ice on it. Drive on ice. Practice braking on ice. Understand how your car feels and handles in these conditions.
6. Deal with a black ice encounter. The general rule is to do as little as possible and allow the car to pass over the ice. Do not hit the brakes, and try to keep the steering wheel straight. 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.
7. Slow down by de-accelerating. Lift your feet off the accelerator completely and keep your steering wheel fixed in the position it’s in. Slowing down will give you more control and prevent needless damage.
8. If you can, shift into a low gear. Low gears will give you more control.
9. Head for areas of traction. Black ice is virtually invisible, but you may be able to head towards areas of pavement that offer more traction. Such areas of traction may include textured ice, snow-covered areas, spots with sand, etc.
11. If you end up going off the road, try to steer into things that will cause the minimum amount of damage. Ideally, steer into an empty field, a yard, or a fluffy snowbank. Of course, you may not have much choice in the matter, but you can at least try.
12. After the black ice encounter, stay calm. You’re likely to be a bit rattled, but panicking isn’t going to help at any stage. If you must keep driving, do so very, very slowly. Alert other drivers that you’re going slowly by flashing your lights at all times.
13. Get off the road as soon as possible. It’s better to wait a while at a rest stop, diner, or even on the side of the road until the road crews can salt and/or sand the roads than to deal with an accident. This will also provide you with a chance to recover your senses and feel less panicked.
14. Prevent or minimize future encounters with black ice. a number one priority, here are some other things to do:
- Travel slowly. Don’t try to speed during icy weather as this will take away any control you might have had on the black ice.
- Don’t tailgate.
- Keep your windshield clear of ice, snow, dirt, and anything else that can prevent you from seeing out of it properly. To get snow and ice off the windshield of your car, you might be tempted to turn on your windshield wipers. It might seem like the wipers and the washer fluid will work, but they don’t. In fact, if you use your windshield wipers to get ice off the windshield, you could ruin them. Use an ice scraper to scrape the ice from the windshield of your car before starting the vehicle.
- Turn your headlights on early in the afternoon to help you see any possible sheen from black ice.
- Check your tire tread. Worn tread causes accidents in any conditions, and will ensure you lack traction when needed on black ice. In addition, consider having snow tires fitted.
- An important thing to remember is to NEVER drive in potentially icy conditions with your cruise control active.
Read More here: http://www.wikihow.com/Drive-on-Black-Ice