As we push into the depths of another rough winter in St. Joseph, car accidents are piling up from icy roads and snowy conditions. A frequent culprit of uncontrollable accidents is black ice. Understanding the conditions that create black ice can let drivers know when to stay inside and avoid a costly car crash.
Black Ice: What It Is and How It Forms on the Roads of Missouri
Black ice is just regular ice – there is nothing special about its consistency or chemical makeup. It is not even black; it is transparent just like other forms of ice. The color is just an illusion from the dark asphalt or pavement beneath the ice.
What makes black ice so special, and so treacherous, is how it forms on the roadway. The recipe for black ice is very specific, and also somewhat rare: There has to be a roadway that is so cold it is below freezing, and there has to be liquid rain falling. The combination of a below-freezing surface and above-freezing precipitation is uncommon.
However, when these precise conditions do happen, the rain will freeze as soon as it hits the roadway, creating a thin sheen of smooth ice. Worse, because it is raining rather than sleeting or snowing, there is rarely any snow or slush to alert drivers of the icy conditions. Additionally, because different portions of the roadway will have slightly different temperatures, black ice will not form equally on a highway. Instead, there will be patches of safe driving that are interspersed with dangerously icy areas.
Bridges are Especially Dangerous
Black ice is the most likely to form on a bridge. Because the surface of a bridge is cooled from both above and below, it is likely to be colder than the surface of the rest of the roadway. This makes bridges especially prone to icing over with black ice. Worse, with little room to maneuver on either shoulder, bridges become pile-up points and the site of some of the largest car accidents in the state.
When to Stay Inside
Black ice is notoriously difficult to drive on. Because the best tips for handling black ice involve neither braking nor steering very much – not options when you hit black ice in the middle of a turn – the best bet is to simply stay off the roads when the conditions are ripe for it.
Those conditions tend to form on the backend of a snowstorm or mixed precipitation system, and are more likely to happen in the early morning than at night. Monitoring the weather closely for signs that the air is warming, but the ground is still cool, can alert drivers to the high risk of black ice on the roads.
St. Joseph Car Accident Lawyers at the Smith Law Office
Car accidents from black ice can be severe. Recovering the compensation that you need and deserve can take the help of a personal injury lawyer from the Smith Law Office in St. Joseph. Contact us online or call our law office at (816) 875-9373.