#23 Be aware of Black Ice


Black ice is something to really watch out for in winter driving conditions.


I hit some ice at the top of a driveway recently. Through excited pumping of the brake and counter steering, somehow I managed to avoid everything and came to a halt with the car and myself unscathed... and VERY relieved, as it wasn't my car!

As far as nerve wracking goes, it was right up there with rally stage 'moments', even though it happened at such low speed.

Black ice is so dangerous because it's hard to see. It forms a thin, smooth layer on the road's surface, and although clear, it appears dark on the road or footpath. Tricky!

You can sometimes see it though - look for smooth, shiny or wet patches on the seal. Also watch for unexpected movements from your car or other cars around you.

Sometimes black ice forms after snow melts and then the water refreezes, or if the roads are still wet from rain and the temperature drops to freezing.

WHERE to look for Black Ice:
Anywhere but especially:
On roads less travelled - with no chemical de-icers
Near water / waterways
Areas where there's water runoff, leaky drains or man-hole covers
Under bridges, overpasses and in tunnels
In shaded areas, along tree lines or in valleys
It can also hide under fresh snow

WHEN to look for Black Ice:
Early morning and at night, when it's coldest
After a light rain, when it's cold enough
Any time, if it's cold enough to freeze
Any time, in shady areas that haven't thawed all day

WHAT to do if you do SEE Black Ice about:
SLOW RIGHT DOWN (but don't brake suddenly like the driver in the video - start by lifting your foot off the accelerator)
Increase your following distances
Allow yourself more stopping distance at intersections especially
Keep your headlights on and look for glossy patches
Park up - somewhere warm if possible - and wait for conditions to improve :-)

More soon on what to do if you do hit ice...

Buckle up, buttercups! And be aware of black ice :-)


PS - Please share my Buckle Up Buttercup tips! The more we talk about road safety and what we can do to keep ourselves and others safe – the safer our roads will be. Things that might be obvious to you might still be unknown to your friends or family.