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 black ice.
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 for the slippery road area, and there is a risk of unexpected loss of traction. This in turn may result in a 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