Black ice is a serious danger to drivers during the winter months. A black ice car accident in Pennsylvania can have fatal consequences for you and other drivers on the road. Keeping that in mind, it is a good to know how to identify the possibility for and then defend against a black ice car accident in
We usually don’t notice black ice until it’s too late. The ground looks fine, but one step and a serious injury can occur. Often, black ice means you are in for a fall.
Black ice is just like regular ice: it is frozen water, forming sometimes on roads and sidewalks as sheets (that’s why it’s so hard to spot). Black ice results from drastic temperature changes: for example, black ice will form in the cooling off after a winter rain or snow shower (or the dreaded “wintry mix”).
Here are some tips for predicting black ice, even if you can’t see it. Look for:
- Ice on your windshield, windshield wipers, or side view mirrors
- “Frosting” on windows
- Icicles hanging from trees, road signs, fences etc.
- Ice in shaded areas (colder temperatures)
- Slickness on bridges or other paved surfaces
A slip and fall on black ice can cause serious injuries, especially to the fine bones of the hands (see our article on wrist injuries caused by falls) or the tailbone. Ankle fractures are also common injuries from such a fall. It’s always advisable to note your surroundings and to seek treatment for injuries following a slip and fall on ice.
Five Useful Tips for Avoiding a Car Accident Involving Black Ice
Know When and Where Black Ice Forms
Black ice most often occurs during or just following a light rain and when temperatures are below-freezing. It forms most often during early morning hours and at night. Parts of the road which see little sunlight are most susceptible to the development of black ice; so, shaded roadways, tunnels, overpasses, and even bridges can have a lot of black ice.
Know How to Spot Black Ice
This means know where black is, how it looks, and when to expect it. First, black is not actually black. It is simply a glassy, smooth covering which blends in with the road. A general glossiness, or sheen, on the road is an indicator that you should proceed with caution.
Know How to Drive on Black Ice
The first thing to do when you realize that you are driving on black ice is stay calm. Do not hit the brakes or jerk the steering wheel. In fact, the best thing you can is to do very little. Refrain from turning the steering wheel too much and de-accelerate. The slower you are driving on black ice, the safer you are.
Know What Heightens a Risk for a Black Ice Accident
Observing safe driving practices is always smart, especially during icy weather. Don’t speed. Don’t tailgate. Drive with your headlights on. Clear all snow and ice off of your (and especially off of your windshield). Do not drive with active cruise control. And of course do not drive while impaired.
Know That Other Drivers May Not be as Cautious as You Are
Some people either ignore the danger associated with black ice or don’t think to alter their driving habits according to weather conditions. Be aware of the other drivers on the road and how they are behaving. You don’t want a mistake made by someone else to cause you to get into a black car accident in Pennsylvania. Keep a safe distance.
More information on winter driving safety can be found on the Carpey Law site. Also, safety tips regarding de-icing your sidewalks and shoveling your sidewalks.
Stuart A. Carpey, who has been practicing as an attorney since 1987, focuses his practice on complex civil litigation which includes representing injured individuals in a vast array of personal injury cases.