As several major winter storms descended upon New Jersey this season, news stations cautioned drivers to beware of black ice. What exactly is black ice and why is it so dangerous?
If you are a Garden State resident, review these black ice facts before your next winter drive.
What is black ice?
Despite the name, black ice is actually transparent. The thin, slick glaze mirrors the black surface of the road, becoming invisible to unsuspecting drivers. This type of ice, which typically forms because of freezing rain or refrozen snow and ice, is also incredibly slippery.
How can I avoid black ice?
First, know where black ice tends to form and steer clear of those areas if you must drive during inclement weather. Shady areas, overpasses and bridges often harbor black ice; you might also find it at the bottom of the hill.
Be especially aware of possible black ice late at night and in the early morning. The colder temperatures during these hours contribute to the slickness of the surfaces.
While you may not be able to see black ice, decrease your speed when traveling on wet or slippery surfaces. Slow down further if you approach a glossy patch, which can signify black ice.
If you do get caught in a patch of black ice, avoid sharp turns. Instead, hold your steering wheel straight, which will help you keep control of the car. Do not press down on the brakes, as this can cause you to slide off the road.
Understanding how to spot and drive on black ice can potentially help you avoid serious auto accident injuries.