How to Drive on Black Ice

Winter driving can be challenging. Limited visibility, rain, snow, and black ice can all impact your regular commute. However, even if you give yourself extra time for your commute, not all road hazards are easily visible.

What is Black Ice?

Black ice is one of the most hazardous road conditions to drive on during the cold winter months. Unlike snow, which can offer a little more grip, especially if you have snow tires, ice is slick and greatly limits your car’s ability to grip the road. Black ice acts a glaze on cold surfaces which includes roads, sidewalks, and even your outdoor decks and walkways.

How to Spot Black Ice

One of the dangers of black is that it is hard to spot until it is too late. If you have an early morning or late evening commute, you should be especially vigilant. Melted snow or rain on the road can turn into black ice once temperatures drop to the freezing point.

Where Does Black Ice Form?

Although Black ice can form on any exposed walkway or road, it is commonly found on bridges, overpasses and the road beneath overpasses. In the Lower Mainland, black ice can also form in alleys so pedestrians and drivers should be careful when exiting their homes and garages.

What Can I Do If I Hit Black Ice?

No matter how cautious you are, there is still a chance you may hit a patch of black ice. If this happens, the best way to avoid your car from fishtailing is to keep the wheel straight, do not accelerate, and avoid hitting your breaks. If your car slips, do not struggle to right your car by turning your wheel in the opposite direction as this can cause fishtailing, skidding, or even spinning out.

If you do end up skidding or sliding, remain calm. If you happen to crash your car, the decreased speed should help minimize damage. However, always be sure to call your insurance company. Your car may have sustained damage you can’t see and you may have a personal injury that might not appear until days later.

For more helpful black ice driving tips, check out this guide from Wikihow.

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