Black ice is bad news for motorists, especially during the long winter months in Pennsylvania. It can be difficult to anticipate. By the time you hit a treacherous patch of black ice, it may be too late.
But, as noted in a recent article in The New York Times, a little knowledge can help you avoid what may be most dangerous of all wintertime driving conditions:
- Be aware that black ice forms during rain with the air temperature at or below 32 degrees on the road surface.
- It also forms when the pavement or bridge deck temperature is the same as the dew point.
- Pavement covered by black ice is slightly darker and duller than the rest of the road surface. One clue: The road looks wet, but you see no spraying water coming from the tires.
- Roads that are less traveled, such as in rural or suburban areas, are more susceptible to black ice.
- Bridges, viaducts and overpasses are more susceptible, too. That’s because they are exposed to the air both above and below, meaning they cool faster.
- Black ice can also form at the bottoms of hills and in areas that are heavily shaded.
If you should drive onto a patch of black ice, your options are limited because you have no control over your vehicle. Experts say to keep your foot off the gas, do not hit the brakes and do not turn the steering wheel, which could make the situation worse. The safest approach is to drive slowly whenever you suspect you may come across black ice conditions.
It’s also helpful to make certain that your vehicle is equipped with the right tires for harsh winter driving conditions. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration offers a range of tips on tires, including advice on the types of tires that you should buy, what tire ratings mean, how to monitor wear and tear, plus understanding tread wear and traction grades.
Black ice is a serious threat to motorists
No matter what you do, black ice has a dangerous reputation for a good reason. It can sneak up on anyone, even if you pay attention to road conditions and drive safely, leaving you with a damaged vehicle and serious injuries. You could be the victim of a poorly maintained roadway. You also could be the victim of a careless motorist who ignores common sense and causes an accident while your only fault was being on the wrong Pennsylvania roadway at the wrong time.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a black ice accident, you’re likely overwhelmed by dealing with the police, doctors and insurance companies. As you do your best to cope with the physical, emotional, mental and financial impact of the accident, you need someone who is going to look out for your best interests.
The Pennsylvania car accident attorneys at Marcus and Mack have nearly 100 years of combined legal experience fighting for the rights of injury victims and their families in Western and Central Pennsylvania, with offices in Indiana and Johnstown.