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driving on black ice

Safety tips on how to deal with black ice

Winter driving is often stressful for a number of reasons, but maybe the scariest scenario is having to deal with black ice.

Since black ice is difficult to see with the human eye, drivers often put themselves in dangerous situations without even realizing.

Here are some quick tips on how to deal with black ice:

What is black ice?

Black ice gets its name because it’s so difficult to see that it takes on the colour of the dark pavement below. Black ice typically looks black or grey to drivers.

Black ice typically forms when there’s freezing rain or there was rain earlier in the day. Many times, black ice forms when rain from the early afternoon freezes after the temperature drops at nighttime. Black ice is much more prevalent when the sun is down, so make sure to look out for it on your daily commute – especially if there’s been any recent rainfall.

Keep your windshield clear

While black ice is difficult to spot, it’s not impossible to see. However, you’ll have virtually no chance of seeing it if your windshield isn’t completely clear.

Before beginning your trip, you should do everything in your power to ensure you have maximum visibility.

Note: Don’t rely on your windshield wipers to clear off ice, as doing so could significantly damage them.

Stay calm

If you happen to drive over black ice and lose control, the most important thing you can do is avoid overreacting. Doing so could cause you to slam on the brakes, which will almost certainly result in skidding.

Instead, relax and keep the steering wheel as straight as possible.

Remember that you’re more likely to lose traction if you make sudden movements. It’s obviously tougher to stay calm when you’re losing control, but it’s vital to your safety that you remain level-headed.

Head for traction

If you can, head for areas with more traction, such as a snow patch or sandy spot. This will help you to re-gain traction and avoid skidding.

Avoid cruise control

It’s important that you stay vigilant when the conditions aren’t ideal. Never use cruise control, as it could slow down your reaction time if you’re skidding.

Get snow tires

If you don’t already have snow tires, make sure to get them ASAP. Driving in Canadian winters is simply too dangerous without them, especially when the roads are wet and icy.

Just because you haven’t gotten in an accident yet doesn’t mean you won’t get into one in the future. Increase your chances of staying safe by getting snow tires today.

Don’t make assumptions

Remember that even if your vehicle is equipped with winter tires and all-wheel drive doesn’t mean you don’t need to drive cautiously in the winter. Sure, these safety features are great to have, but you can still lose traction, so it’s important you don’t take anything for granted.