What is Black Ice?

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Black ice is particularly hazardous because it often causes slick road conditions, oftentimes catching drivers unaware.  Black ice isn’t really black. It’s actually a layer of ice thin enough to appear transparent. This allows people to clearly see the black asphalt beneath it, hence the name “black ice.”

Since black ice often goes unseen to drivers, it’s important to be on the lookout for the conditions that allow black ice to form.

Snowmelt freezing over after sunset can lead to an icy commute without any precipitation. Rain may allow for wet pavement that isn’t necessary slippery, but temperatures falling below freezing overnight can turn roads icy.

Be aware of conditions that may allow for wet pavement, such as recent precipitation or runoff from snowmelt uphill. If you are heading out, always look to see what the temperatures are along your route before driving.

When the combination of wet pavement and subfreezing temperatures are possible, allow extra time for your commute and keep greater distance between vehicles to prevent a spinout.