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What You Should Know About Black Ice, Winter’s Hidden Danger

Posted on in Personal Injury

Chicago personal injury attorneysHere in the greater Chicago area, winter weather ranges from mild and wet to very cold and very icy—a pattern that can create some serious hazards getting around. Whether you are travelling on foot or by car, one of the most dangerous of these conditions is black ice. With over 150,000 car accidents happening every year due to ice on the road—over 500 of which result in at least one death—it is easy to see why black ice is something every driver should take very seriously.

What Is Black Ice?

At its most basic, black ice is a transparent coating of ice that takes on the color of whatever surface lies beneath it. Most often, the surface is a roadway, and roadways usually have a black asphalt surface, hence the name “black ice.”

Black ice generally forms when temperatures warm up, and snow and ice starts to melt, leaving the surface wet and slick. Then, it gets cold again, and the ice-melt refreezes. It can happen anywhere along a road, but it often starts on bridges and overpasses because, unlike the regular road, these structures are exposed to freezing temperatures from top and bottom.

Why Is It Dangerous?

Black ice tends to be more dangerous than other kinds of road ice for one primary reason: Like the iceberg that sank the Titanic, you might not see the danger until it is too late, if you see it at all. For many drivers, their first clue that they have hit black ice is a loss of steering and braking control and that could lead to a cascade of panicked overreactions that sometimes end in accidents, injuries, and even death.

What to Do When It Happens to You

Hitting a patch of black ice can be frightening. The driver may be startled, and adrenaline begins to flow. Every instinct tells the driver to do something to get out of the situation, and, before he or she even thinks about it, the driver’s foot may be off the gas and mashing the brake pedal to the floorboards. Alternately, he or she may hit the gas and try to power out of it. Either way, the driver may have just made a bad situation worse by giving up what little control that still remained.

So, what is the alternative?

Relax. Yes, your instincts may be telling to do something, but your best option is have to ignore all that. Instead, slow yourself down so you are acting deliberately. Take your foot off the gas and the brake, and coast over the ice. If you are in a skid, experts say you should turn into the skid calmly and evenly. Soon you will feel the car begin to slow down. That is a sign that the tires are once again gripping the pavement.

When to Contact a Chicago Personal Injury Attorney

Unfortunately, just because you make it over the ice unscathed does not mean the driver behind you will do the same, and you might find yourself in a motor vehicle accident. At the minimum, that means property damage to your car and possibly serious physical injuries to yourself and your passengers. If you or someone you love has been injured by someone else’s negligent driving, you could be owed compensation for your injuries, your losses, and your expenses. The experienced Illinois car accident lawyers at the Livas Law Group, A Division of Kralovec, Jambois & Schwartz, can help you through the process of getting the compensation you deserve. To schedule a free consultation, call our office today at 312-804-6102.

 

Sources:

https://weloveweather.tv/black-ice/

https://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/fseprd488148.pdf

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