PLACERVILLE, Calif. — Slippery, hard-to-spot and potentially deadly black ice is one of the biggest threats to drivers during the Wednesday morning and afternoon commute.
Black ice forms when temperatures fall before 32 degrees Fahrenheit in areas where it recently rained, snow fell, or slush formed on the road. It’s especially common in the early morning hours when melted snow has refrozen on surfaces overnight. The problem, according to AAA experts, is the road may look normal or even a little wet when there’s patches of black ice.
Additionally, black ice tends to form first on bridges or overpasses because the cool air below allows the surface to cool faster.
On Wednesday morning, California Highway Patrol reported multiple incidents of drivers hitting black ice. Luckily, no injuries were reported.
CHP is reminding drivers that during the day, the best thing to do before getting in a vehicle is to take a look at the pavement. According to CHP, if the pavement is dry but there are spots that look dark and glossy, black ice is probably going to form in that area.
If you drive over black ice, AAA suggests the following:
- Remain calm and avoid overreacting.
- Do as little as possible and allow the car to pass over the ice.
- Do not hit the brakes and try to keep the steering wheel straight.
- The normal, dry pavement following distance for drivers of three to four seconds should be increased to eight to 10 seconds.
Ice Harvesting: California's Lost Industry
Before refrigeration, ice harvesters worked on the frozen lakes of the Sierra, bringing back blocks of crystal cold to help people keep their food from spoiling. John Bartell hit the backroads to see if it was as fun as Disney made it look in 'Frozen.'