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Colorado Injury Firm

The Dangers of Black Ice on the Road

snowy road

The Denver winter season brings with it many unique weather conditions that makes driving more dangerous than other any time of the year. While snow, sleet, and freezing rain are all major players, there is nothing more impactful on driving than ice. Black ice, specifically, is the real threat to drivers due to its undetectable nature. Although it has a color its name, black ice is actually transparent. By blending in with the surface it covers, it is nearly invisible to drivers and pedestrians alike.

How Black Ice Forms

Like regular ice, black ice forms on surfaces after a light freezing rain or after the melting and re-freezing of snow, water, or ice. Unlike regular ice, however, black ice forms thinly and without creating bubbles. That is why instead of the usual shade of white you see in regular ice, black ice appears transparent, matching the color of the surface it is on. When black ice becomes wet from warming temperatures, it turns incredibly slick and can easily cause motorists to lose control of their vehicle. According to the Federal Highway Administration, icy roads lead to over 150,000 car accidents every year.

When and Where to Expect Black Ice

Black ice most often forms while the sun is down, and temperatures are at or below freezing. It is most commonly found on parts of roadways covered in shade, such as tunnels or roads surrounded by trees, where the sun cannot melt away the ice. Bridges and overpasses are also prone to have black ice as both the top side and underneath are exposed to the frigid air, cooling the pavement’s temperature. While these are some of the more common areas, black ice always has the potential to appear on any road if the conditions are right. Spotting black ice can be tricky, but not impossible. If you are seeing dark and glossy patches on an otherwise dry road, more than likely that is black ice.

How to Handle Driving Over Black Ice

Whether you noticed it too late, or not at all, you may be in a situation where you cannot avoid driving over black ice. In that event, there are specific actions you can take to help reduce the chance of losing control. Generally, doing as little as possible should be your best chance of avoiding an accident. Releasing your foot off the gas and keeping the steering wheel straight is what you should limit your movement too, if possible. Any sudden movements, like quickly turning the steering wheel or slamming on the brakes can cause your vehicle to lose control. If you do lose traction or skid, softly pump the brakes and steer in the direction you wish to go until your car regains control or stops moving.

Contact an Attorney Today

If you have been involved in an accident caused by black ice, that does not eliminate the possibility for compensation. Although ice may be a contributing factor, recklessness or negligence on part of the other driver can still be the primary cause of car accidents in the winter. The seasoned attorneys at Gaiennie Law Office have handled countless winter accident cases and can use that experience to help your case. Call today to find out how an attorney may assist you.

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