Black Ice Is Dangerous
Wintertime Road Hazard

WAYNESVILLE, OH -- Black Ice -- What it really is, is an age-old winter phenomenon that has sent many a driver skidding and sliding down what looked like a dry road.

"What we call black ice is frozen water -- either sleet or rain or from melted snow -- that freezes as a sheet and is not visible as ice, "The road looks the same as it always does, which is why it's so hard to detect, especially if you've been driving for awhile."

What can a person do to prepare for black ice?

"Look for signs of ice other than on the roadway," That means looking for ice on windshield wipers or sideview mirrors, on road signs, trees or fences along the highway. If ice is forming on any of those things, it's possible that it may be on the road as well.

Then again, ice may not have formed on anything but the road. For example, it may have been a warm day during which the snow melted and then froze as ice after the temperature dropped at night. In other cases there will be ice in shaded areas, such as cuts through hills and along banks, before there will be ice on the open roads. "If you suspect there could be black ice on the pavement, you may want to test for it by gently wiggling the car a little bit or by applying the brakes lightly to see if there's any change in the feel of the road,".

Black ice is also one of the winter hazards that four-wheel drive cannot overcome. "Some of us get complacent because we have four-wheel drive,". "However, you need to be just as careful as the motorist who has a rear-wheel drive vehicle when it comes to ice on the roadway."

Another good tip for winter driving is to listen to the radio for reports on the temperature outside. "When the roads have been wet and the temperature drops below freezing, ice can form quickly," he adds.

"If you are a person who must drive frequently in winter weather, it is a good idea to install an outdoor thermometer in the car," "This will allow you to monitor the outside temperature. These thermometers are available at auto supply stores."

This is also the type of weather when it is especially important to watch for those signs that remind drivers that bridges freeze before roads. "These signs tell you there is a bridge ahead and give you time to slow down so you have better control just in case there is ice on the bridge pavement,".