What Is Black Ice and How Do I Avoid It?

by wfnblog on February 5, 2010

Winter Driving Black IceFor those who frequently drive in climates where snow and ice are common, the phenomenon of black ice is a constant threat. Even though the road before you may look dry and clear, the danger of an ice pack forming on it should give all drivers concern.

Basically, black ice is water that freezes to the roadway—or sidewalk or walking path—and takes on the color of the material below it; since the ice is clear, it seemingly is the same color of the road beneath it—black. And that is where black ice gets its name.

Black ice can also be a potential danger to pedestrians who walk on roadways or walking paths that can hide the patch of ice because of the color of the asphalt.

What can you do about it? That’s a difficult question to answer. When you are driving, it’s best to pay particular attention to bridges and overpasses where ice patches form more easily. Since black ice is often synonymous with “unseen danger,” it’s really more about always being careful and watchful when driving in the winter.

For walkers, black ice has been the cause of many sprained ankles and broken arms. Again, it’s not always easy to avoid it. However, by paying special attention to areas of your walking path that do not see a lot sun, you can hopefully prevent blindly walking on it and finding yourself face first in the snow bank.

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