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What is black ice and how do I discover it?

Boel Haglund, November 16, 2016

Black ice on the road is rightly considered very dangerous when driving. Still, many drivers are not watchful enough in weather conditions where there is the risk of black ice. But, what is this black ice – and what should I know about it?

No, it’s not black

Typically, black ice is invisible. It’s a thin coating of glaze ice on the road surface. Since it’s thin and transparent, the black road surface is clearly seen through it, and that is why it’s called blackice.

But, it’s dangerous

The typically low levels of noticeable ice pellets, snow, or sleet surrounding black ice means that areas of the ice are often practically invisible to drivers. Accordingly, the driver is not prepared of the slippery road area, and there is a risk of unexpected loss of traction. This in turn may result in subsequent accident.

Black ice sometimes forms from super-cooled rain which freezes into ice and constitutes a particular risk to winter traffic because it is extremely slippery and hard to spot. The temperature may be above freezing but the road surface may still be slippery.

The road surface can be well below freezing temperature – while the vehicle thermometer suggests it is not freezing.

This is how you discover black ice

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How to shorten your response time in rescue driving

Ulrik Andersson, September 1, 2016

Why response time must be reduced

For rescue operations ‘response time’ is one of the measures for effectiveness. In emergency situations response time should be as short as possible as this could be crucial for saving lives or properties at danger. Accordingly, much effort is put into reducing response times. But actually, what is response time?

Response time is a sum of parts

The total response time could be split into three clearly different phases:

  1. Dispatch time – This is the time elapsed from when an emergency call is received at the central until the rescue unit is notified.
  2. Turnout time – The time from when the rescue unit is notified until it is responding.
  3. Travel time – The time from responding until arriving at the incident scene.

It’s quite obvious that the potential for reducing response time will differ considerably depending on what phase we’re looking at.

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