North Carolina’s weather has been pretty wild this year — and that’s led to plenty of problems on the roads. Late-winter storms in February sent sleet, snow and freezing rain all over the Carolinas, along with parts of Virginia and Georgia. The National Weather Service even felt compelled to issue warnings about the hazardous road conditions — including black ice.
Black ice is probably a familiar problem for a lot of drivers in the North, but it isn’t something that people see that often in this state. Black ice just looks black — it’s actually a thin, clear coating of ice that forms very rapidly on the roads during rain when the temperature suddenly drops. Because it’s largely invisible, it’s smart to understand how to handle black ice when you encounter it:
1. Be aware of the weather conditions.
Knowing the conditions that cause black ice to form can help you stay alert to the possibility that you may encounter some.
2. Understand where black ice forms.
You’re most likely to encounter lack ice in areas where the road gets little sun, roads that see less travel and roads that have a lower ground temperature than the surrounding roads (such as bridges and ramps that are above ground and roads underneath overpasses).
3. Watch for other cars having trouble.
If you see other cars ahead of you slipping, swerving or otherwise losing traction for no apparent reason, assume that you may be approaching black ice. Slow down.
As usual with slippery roads, the wise driver will slow down and give other vehicles plenty of spare room. Even so, you can’t always avoid an accident — especially when other drivers are reckless. If you’re hurt in a car wreck due to black ice, find out if you have the right to compensation for your losses.