Black ice is dangerous, though its name is somewhat misleading. Black ice is actually clear, a thin coating of ice glazed on the surface of the roadway. This thin surface of ice can wreak havoc on vehicles along Texas roadways during the winter months. If you experience a wreck caused by black ice, speak to a car accident lawyer in Houston to discuss whether you have the foundation of an injury case. Here, we want to explain what black ice is and why it is so dangerous, as well as steps you can take to help prevent black ice accidents on Texas roads.
What is Black Ice
If you’ve encountered black ice on the roadways, then you understand the dangers. Chances are, you did not even see the black ice until you drove over it. Perhaps you have even encountered black ice when walking on the roadways after a cold evening. Black ice on sidewalks or on the roadway can pose a risk to individuals on foot as well.
Information from The Weather Channel tells us that black ice is a thin coat of highly transparent ice that forms along the roadway. The ice is transparent because it is so thin, and because of this transparency, it blends in very well with the surroundings. It can be nearly impossible to tell the difference between a wet portion of the roadway and a portion of the roadway that has black ice covering it.
Black ice is caused by a few mechanisms. First, if the temperature rises above freezing after any snow has fallen on the ground, the snow could slowly melt and lead to wet roadway surfaces. Additionally, it could rain right before a freezing event and leave the roadway wet. When the temperature drops below freezing when the ground is wet, black ice is conformed on the paved surfaces when it refreezes.
When Does Black Ice Affect Texans the Most?
Texas is vulnerable to cold weather. Because people simply expect Texas to remain above freezing most of the year, preparing for the possibility of black ice is typically not a priority. However, residents and visitors to Texas should start to worry about black ice around November and remain wary of the threat through February. These are when our average temperatures dip the lowest in Texas, and the risk of black ice will be the greatest.
Hitting a patch of black ice could be disastrous. Drivers can easily lose control of their vehicles if they drive over black ice, which could lead to collisions with other vehicles on the roadway, collisions with fixed objects, or the vehicle going off the roadway altogether.
If you or somebody you care about has never experienced black ice or if you need a quick refresher, here are some of the main steps to take if you encounter black ice on the roadways of Texas:
Take your foot off the gas carefully and allow the vehicle to decelerate naturally
Do not hit the brakes because braking hard could cause the vehicle to tailspin out of control
Steadily steer through a black ice situation by maintaining the steering wheel’s direction because struggling against the natural movements of the car can make skidding worse
After the vehicle has slowed down, move to a safe location with better traction, such as the shoulder of the road or an area with textured snow
The best way to avoid black ice accidents is to avoid the roadways altogether if inclement weather comes through your area. If you see any information about potential black ice, stay home if you can.