Jan 25, 2022 11:33:02 AM / Brooke Loeffler / What to do if you hit black ice

Black Ice Driving Tips

Black ice is one of the most frightening winter driving hazards out there. We all know that Mother Nature always has the upper hand when it comes to winter roads, but here are some driving tips that can help.

Black Ice Driving Tips

What is Black Ice?

The term “black ice” is a little bit of a misnomer. The ice is still transparent, but forms a glaze over paved surfaces and blends in with the surface below. Black ice is extremely dangerous because it is so difficult to detect and is much slicker than grainy snow.

What to Watch For?

If you have enough light and you pay close attention, you can sometimes spot black ice before you drive over it. The road surface will be glossy and shiny like a newly painted black car. 

Black ice can form in a wide range of conditions:

  • Thaw-freeze cycles during/after a snowstorm
  • Freezing rain
  • Moisture from the air condensing and freezing on surfaces
  • Coldest hours in the night or early morning before the sun rises

Black ice can form anywhere but is more likely to occur in the following areas:

  • Persistent shade (behind buildings, tree lined routes, tunnels, below overpasses, etc.)
  • Areas of poor drainage (between construction k-rails, low lying areas)
  • Bridges, elevated ramps, overpasses, etc. 

Black Ice Driving Tips

First and foremost…stay calm. You need a level head in order to override the impulse to aggressively regain control.

How to Slow Down

  • Avoid the temptation to slam on your brakes (braking hard will likely send you into a skid)
  • Let off the gas to stop acceleration
  • If you can safely do so, downshift into a lower gear

How to Steer

  • Keep the steering wheel as straight as possible
  • Avoid drastic wheel turns
  • If your back end pulls to the right, gently adjust wheel to the right
  • If your back end pulls to the left, gently adjust wheel to the left
  • If you can, gently steer toward areas with better traction (ie, areas with some snow buildup, gently shoulders with rougher surfaces, etc.)

Pro Tip!

Keeping a bag of granular ice melt in your vehicle can help you fight ice in parking lots and spaces. Try Nature’s Blend for a high powered, environmentally friendly ice melt to get you back on the road. 

Want some more helpful winter driving tips from Ice Slicer®? Click here to get our handy Winter Road Guide.

Phone with Winter Driving Guide

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