How to Drive on Black Ice

The key to driving on black ice is to do the opposite of your initial reaction. Don’t hit the brakes! When we’re driving and encounter dangerous situations, our initial reaction is to instantly stop, but in the case of ice, slamming on the brakes will only make the situation worse. Instead, remove your foot from the gas pedal, which will help slow you down as the car glides over the ice. Don’t panic — let your car pass over the ice, and try to keep the steering wheel straight. Repeat that to yourself over and over again so that when it happens, your brain knows. Don’t brake. Don’t brake. While you’re embedding that into your brain, let’s explain a little more.

First, what is black ice? Black ice is simply ice that you don’t see because it’s transparent. It is such a thin layer that it blends in with the road and looks black. That’s what makes it so incredibly dangerous and scary. You’re driving along, and before you know it, your car is out of control.

Don’t brake. Don’t brake.

Second, what causes black ice? Black ice is created in the same way all ice is: it’s water that gets really cold and turns solid. But in this case, it’s just a very thin layer. A lot of the time, it’s snow that melts and refreezes overnight. Talk about a morning commute disaster! Remember, too, that bridges will freeze faster than roads because they’re left unprotected from airflow not only above the surface but also underneath.

Before we even get into this situation, we’ll want to make sure that our cars, vans, trucks, SUVs, and CUVs are prepared for winter. One of the best actions you can take is to get some winter tires. Their composition is designed to stay flexible when temperatures drop below 45°F. Ever feel like you’re driving on hockey pucks? That’s because all season tires, in general, will harden at colder temperatures. (And they should! Their tread is designed to accommodate most temperatures, but the softer the tread, the faster tires wear down.)

Next, if you’re experiencing any brake issues, winter driving will only make them worse. Colder temperatures require vehicle maintenance on all fronts. If you take your car to your dealership, they’ll take care of everything. Simple!

One last time, if you encounter black ice when you’re driving, what should you do? That’s right. Don’t brake, ease up on the gas, and keep your steering wheel straight.

Good luck out there!

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