When you drive, you always keep an eye on the road in front of you. This allows you to spot road hazards before they can cause or contribute to a potentially serious accident. Unfortunately, even if you pay attention, you may drive onto black ice with little or no notice.
Black ice is a thin layer of ice that sits on the top of a frozen surface. While this ice is clear instead of black, it may cause you to lose control over your vehicle. Despite South Carolina’s comparatively mild climate, black ice is common when temperatures drop.
Identifying black ice
It can be difficult to see black ice, as this type of ice blends seamlessly with dark roadways. This is especially true on cloudy days and during nighttime driving conditions. Consequently, the most effective way to identify black ice is to check the weather. If air temperatures are near or below freezing and there has been precipitation, you have a good chance of encountering black ice on your commute.
Driving on black ice
When you drive onto black ice, your tires may lose traction. A loss of traction often makes it difficult both to steer and to stop vehicles. Therefore, if you are driving when black ice is likely to be present, it makes sense to reduce your speed. You may also want to increase your following distance. That is, you should probably put a few more car lengths between your vehicle and others.
If you notice your vehicle beginning to skid, you should gently turn in the direction of the skid. You should also take your foot off the gas pedal and avoid slamming on your brakes. Then, when you regain traction, it is advisable to accelerate slowly until you move past the patch of black ice.