Black Ice, a Hazard for Drivers in Ohio

Ohio auto accident attorneyAs we draw closer to the end of winter, the brisk cold clashes with the occasional warm, signifying that spring is just around the corner. This struggle between temperatures can create a serious hazard for Ohio drivers, especially when wet roads suddenly freeze.

Black ice can be an unforeseen danger to those who aren't prepared. Water from melted snow spreads across the roadways, and just when you think it's safe to zip down the freeway, the temperature drops below 32 degrees Fahrenheit.  Your vehicle may lose control, and as you apply the brakes, the spinout only worsens. This can be a terrifying, even life-threatening scenario for drivers caught off-guard during icy road conditions.

At some point, every driver in Ohio will have to travel over icy roads. But awareness and prevention are key to remaining safe. An article by the New York Times points out the measures you can take to prevent an accident when you encounter black ice.

What causes black ice?

How black ice forms is pretty evident - water freezes on the road and creates a clear coating that can be invisible to the human eye. However, black ice is more likely to form in areas that lack sunlight or are susceptible to wind. While black ice can form anywhere, knowing where it's more likely to form is half the battle:

  • Bridges and overpasses are especially vulnerable to forming black ice since air can circulate above and below the structure, cooling the surface faster.
  • The bottom of a hill is likely to accumulate more water than most areas, which means more black ice can form as well.
  • Heavily shaded areas, particularly roads densely blocked by trees, will be cooler than other areas and thus form more ice.
  • When saturated by moisture, highways and highly traveled routes are vulnerable to black ice when temperatures fall. This is often the culprit behind multi-vehicle pileups.

Being prepared for black ice

Handling an encounter with black ice takes only a few strategies. The first thing you should do when you feel your vehicle start to slip is take your foot off the gas. Accelerating during icy conditions can cause your wheels to spin, which reduces the amount of control you have. Secondly, never apply the brakes. If your vehicle is already in the process of sliding, your brakes aren't going to stop your vehicle's forward momentum. Lastly, avoid turning the steering wheel, as this can cause your vehicle to spin out. Your steering wheel should only be used gently to maintain control of your vehicle.

Your best line of defense against black ice is to take it slow. You can also check the weather forecast. If you notice that Ohio is due for precipitation and a swift drop in the temperature, be prepared. But even if you take all of the suggested precautions and drive responsibly, there is no guarantee that other drivers will do the same. That's why in the event of an accident caused by black ice, you should seek the legal advocacy of an experienced auto accident attorney.

The legal team at Michael D. Christensen Law Offices LLC is dedicated to protecting the rights of injured auto accident victims. Contact us today and find out how we can help you.

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