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Black ice can be a hidden driving danger on Philadelphia roads

Black ice

Spring will arrive sooner than we think, according to Punxsutawney Phil. Winter weather risks can still a nuisance for Philadelphia drivers, however. When it snows, drivers have some traction and tire grip. When black ice sneaks up on us, however, it can be difficult to avoid a collision.

How and where does black ice form?

Black ice is a thin layer of ice that forms when winter temperatures fluctuate. It can take on the same appearance as a wet road or a dark, wet blotch in the road. Here are some examples of how it can form:

  • Snow and ice melt during the day time and refreezes at night.
  • Rain during the daytime turns to ice overnight.
  • Ice forms from freezing rain due to low ground temperatures.
  • Fog and dew moisture freezes on the road overnight.

Black ice can blanket an entire roadway when wet roads suddenly freeze. It usually forms in areas that lack sunlight and on bridges or overpasses. Shaded areas blocked by trees and buildings are generally colder. Wind and cold air tend to encompass bridges, making the surface colder than usual.

How long does it take drivers to slow down or stop?

Since black ice is difficult to detect, especially at night, drivers are often not prepared for it. It can cause cars to careen out of control and spin out when navigating curves.

Stopping distance always increases when roads are covered in snow, sleet, or rain. According to the Weather Channel, stopping distance significantly increases when wet roads freeze. For example, when a car is traveling at 50 mph, it can take 1,000 ft or more to come to a complete stop.

 

Are collisions on icy roads avoidable?

Black ice can be unpredictable. There is very little drivers can do to prevent collisions in some cases. There is no guarantee that drivers can avoid sliding during icy conditions. Crashes can be mitigated simply by driving at a speed that is safe and prudent for conditions and staying attentive. Here are some tips for reducing the likelihood of a crash:

  • Maintain a safe speed and following distance.
  • Never use cruise control.
  • Avoid hitting the brakes, especially on icy surfaces.
  • Remove your foot from the gas pedal to slow down.
  • Never trust the temperature reading in your dashboard because road surfaces may be colder.

If you or a loved one was hurt in a collision this winter, don't hesitate to get the legal help you need. The Philadelphia car accident attorneys at The Hanamirian Firm, PC can help you receive the best possible medical care. We can also help you recover all economic and non-economic damages accrued from your crash. Contact us online today to find out how we can help you.

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