As soon as the temperatures start dropping and the wreaths are hung, the joy of winter is ready to be celebrated! But there’s an infamous winter menace ready to rain on your parade: Black ice. Named after the black roads that lie underneath its transparent surface, black ice is a thin, invisible layer of ice that often forms on roads and bridges. As it is extremely slippery and hard to spot, driving, walking, and even bicycling can be very dangerous on black ice. Stay safe this year by following our tips to avoid black ice dangers!

1. Watch for Road Signs and Patches

In some places, icy road warnings take form as tall, metal road signs. While road signs can’t directly point out where black ice is, it can be a great guide on where to drive slowly and where black ice may be. One common road sign you may see reads ‘bridge ices before road’. This particular sign tells you that even if the roads you’ve been on weren’t iced over, it’s very possible that the bridges are iced over. Another common road sign you’ll see for ice just reads ‘icy’. This is as straightforward as it gets – if you see this sign, and you see snow, there’s definitely ice on this road. In some cases, you can actually see black ice – if the lighting is good enough. Black ice will appear as extra glossy patches, usually appearing to be a lighter color than the rest of the road. 

2. Put Your Sand and Salt To Good Use

Whether you’re driving or walking on black ice, its slippery surface makes it hard to maneuver. Unless you’re into the slipping and falling scene, it’s a good idea to prepare your personal spaces (like driveways and sidewalks) for black ice. Sand or salt can be used to add traction, making the ice a little bit less slippery. This can help a great deal when it comes to walking the dog or backing out of the driveway. You can purchase large bags of sand for just the occasion from large department stores or home improvement stores. If you’re willing to go the extra mile, you can also contact your state’s transportation department to see if they can salt the roads to make it safer for citizens, preferably before it snows.

3. Keep Your Driving Simple

It can be tempting to become a Fast and Furious character when you need to get to work or to that doctor’s appointment. But with the danger of black ice lurking about, it’s very important that you take extra precautions with your driving. Avoid doing any extra weaving in and out of lanes than needed. Be sure not to go over the speed limit, with going a little under the speed limit a better recommendation. Keep your turns simple; Avoid drastic turns left or right unless you absolutely have to avoid something on the road.

 

4. Learn How To Drive On Black Ice

Preemptive preparation is a great idea no matter how diligent you are in avoiding black ice. Odds are, you’ll probably end up driving over black ice at least once in your life, especially if you live in a place with very snowy or very cold winters. Don’t be stuck without a plan; Learn what to do should you encounter black ice. The most important thing to remember is not to panic! Panicking or overreacting can cause sudden and dramatic movement of the steering wheel or slamming on the brakes, which is exactly how you end up sliding out of control on black ice. Instead, de-accelerate by taking your foot off the gas, not by braking. Keep your steering wheel straight and avoid turning left or right; Essentially, you’re letting the black ice take your car over the patch, with you doing as little as possible. 

Injury Treatment in Dedham, MA

If you follow these four simple tips, you should have an easier time preventing accidents during the Holidays. In the unfortunate case, however, that you do have an ‘oopsy daisy’, let the experts at AFC Urgent Care Dedham take care of you. Our staff of board-certified physicians is equipped to diagnose your problems accurately. We accept walk-in patients seven days a week and accept most major health insurance plans. For questions, please call 781-461-0200.