What is black ice and is it dangerous to drive on?

PLUMMETING winter temperatures can make driving more dangerous, especially when black ice forms on the roads.

Here is what you need to know about driving safely in icy conditions.



What is black ice

Black ice is the same as regular ice but it is more dangerous as it is harder to spot, especially when you are driving.
It is formed on top of roads and pavements when there is light freezing or melting and re-freezing water on the surfaces.

Black ice gets its name as it is often camouflaged and looks the same as the road’s surface, making it hard to spot before you walk or drive on it.

There is a higher chance of black ice in the coming weeks as an Arctic blast is set to hit the UK.

Where would you find black ice?

Black ice is formed when the temperature is just around freezing point.

It can form on the motorways when the freezing temperatures on the roads are coupled with the heat from the car’s tyres.

Black ice mainly forms at night or early in the morning when the temperatures drop to their lowest, so be careful if you are driving at these times.

Look out for patches of black ice on roads that are frequently travelled on or on areas of the road which aren’t in direct sunlight.

Another problem area is bridges as the cold air is able to cool both sides of the road.

A strong sign of black ice is if the car suddenly swerves for no apparent reason.

This is often caused by a patch of hidden black ice so it is important to drive slowly and carefully when it is cold outside.

What do you do if you hit black ice?

  • Stay calm
  • Do as little as possible and allow the car to pass over the ice
  • Don’t brake
  • Try and keep the steering wheel straight
  • If your back wheels start to slide left or right very slightly turn the wheel the same way
  • If you turn in the opposite directing you risk skidding and spinning off the road
  • Slow down by taking your foot off the accelerator


How to minimise risk of incidents involving black ice?

  • Travel slowly especially in icy conditions
  • Don’t tailgate
  • Keep your windscreen clean
  • Turn headlights on earlier in the afternoon
  • Make sure your tyres aren’t worn down
  • Never drive in icy conditions with your cruise control turned on

Here are 10 key checks you need to conduct on your vehicle before setting off this winter.

And these are the driving rules and regs to keep in mind as temperatures plummet.

Bloke shares genius hack for de-icing your car and it’ll save you a lot of time


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