WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 22, 2014
Blog by: Andy Arends
It's black ice season and that means extra care is necessary when driving. The term "black ice" isn't really accurate because the ice is not black in color. Like most ice, it is clear colored. If you think you see black, you're really seeing black asphalt covered by a very thin layer of transparent ice. "Invisible ice" would be a better term.
Like all ice, it is slippery and can cause you to lose control of your vehicle, even if you have 4 wheel drive. Staying home or reducing speed and increasing following distance are the best defenses when black ice conditions are likely. Knowing when to expect black ice is also important.
The risk increases anytime it is very cold because ice fighting chemicals get less effective the colder it gets. If the temperature is near zero or colder, it is likely you will encounter invisible ice somewhere in your travels, especially if there has been any recent precipitation.
Bridges are a favorite hangout for black ice. It can also often be found wherever vehicles have come to a stop. That's because the moisture from exhaust freezes on the road, so be extra careful as you approach traffic lights and stop signs or on busy freeways in stop and go conditions.