4 July 2018

Beware of Black Ice


It’s far from our minds as we enjoy the sunshine of summer, but it never hurts to remind ourselves and prepare for safe driving in winter conditions. Driving when it’s icy, especially when there’s black ice is highly dangerous and even the most skilled and experienced drivers will avoid driving when icy conditions are severe. If you do find yourself stuck in such hazardous conditions, here are some useful tips to remember:

When you encounter black ice

This is the most dangerous of road conditions. Black ice is a thin layer of water that’s frozen but contains low numbers of air bubbles, making it transparent and very difficult to spot. The only indication is that the road surface might have a wet appearance. It doesn’t matter what colour the road or pavement surface is, the ice will always be camouflaged.

Image credit

It forms when the air temperature is warmer than the surface of the road. Moisture is created, and the liquid quickly freezes when it hits the surface. A sudden drop in temperature can cause this to occur without you knowing you’re driving on it. This often occurs on ungritted roads, overpasses and bridges. Don’t risk ice forming next winter and consider Car Park Gritting in Gloucester with http://www.contract-gritting.co.uk/gritting-services/car-park/

If black ice forms during daylight, sometimes it’s possible to spot glare coming from it, but after dark it’s almost impossible to see when driving. Here are some other warning signs to be aware of that might alert you to the possibility of patches of black ice:

  • Tell-tale Temperature Ranges – When temperatures are set to dip below freezing, you should consider a temperature gauge in your vehicle. Noticing these sudden drops in temperature could help you to be aware of when ice might be forming.
  • Water Spray – When ice is forming, you will no longer see any water spray coming from the tyres of other vehicles even if the road looks wet.
  • Touch your Outside Mirrors – Ice will begin forming on the top edges of your side mirrors, so open your window and feel along the front of your driver’s side mirror. If you feel ice forming, then you can be sure it’s also forming on the road beneath you.

Image credit

How to drive on ice:

When you realise you’re driving on ice, the best thing to do is not panic and don’t hit the brakes. Also, don’t make any sudden movements with your steering wheel. Ease your foot off the accelerator and slow down as much as possible without endangering the vehicle behind you. Find a place to pull over and park, ideally a car park and not on the road. As long as you remain calm and make all driving movements slowly, with no sudden actions, you should be able to navigate safely to a stop.