Black ice is a hidden danger on the roads in Bristol and throughout Pennsylvania when the temperatures drop below freezing. Driving over black ice can be scary, but if drivers follow some simple procedures, they can navigate this hazard without harm to themselves or their vehicles.
What is black ice?
Black ice is actually clear ice that forms on pavement. It appears black because of the asphalt, and thus can be difficult for drivers to see.
Drivers usually encounter black ice during the early morning hours or at night. During daylight, the road retains enough heat and energy to melt the ice, and thus there is a decreased chance of driving over black ice.
Black ice is also common on bridges because bridges have cool air above and below the road, and on tree-lined streets or inside tunnels. A lack of sunlight reduces the road’s heat and energy.
How to Handle Black Ice
Drivers should be cautious when in areas susceptible to black ice. Sometimes ice sheets will melt and form a top layer of water while remaining icy underneath this layer. Certain areas, like closer to the curb and areas in the shade, are more vulnerable to black ice. Often puddles of water along the curb will freeze, causing ice. These frozen puddles may be more difficult to spot.
When a car first drives over black ice, the driver should not do much of anything except not panic. If a driver suddenly presses down on the brakes, he or she likely will begin to skid off the roadway.
Next the driver should slowly ease off the gas pedal and attempt to cruise over the ice. If the car begins to shift to one side, the driver should gently steer the wheel in that direction to regain control of the vehicle. Once past the ice, the driver should find a safe place to stop and wait until the weather is safe for driving.
If someone does start to skid after running over black ice, they should try to minimize the damage to the car and themselves. Soft areas like snow banks, up a hill and perhaps even into a very slight ditch, are good places to guide the car toward. While the driver will still get into an accident, these areas have less hazards and cause less damage to the car and passengers.
Filing a Claim after an Accident on Black Ice
Negligence in a car accident claim is defined as failing to provide reasonable care to prevent harm to others. Under this definition, taking precautions like slowing down and increasing stopping speed in cold weather qualify as exercising reasonable care to prevent injuries. If a driver fails to act safely in winter weather, he or she can still be liable for an accident, even if that driver drove over black ice.
At Cordisco & Saile LLC we help Bristol drivers explore their legal options to recover compensation from their insurance policy and file claims against at-fault drivers. Contact our office at 215-642-2335 or contact us online to set up a consultation about your case.