What is black ice called now?

Answered by Stephen Mosley

Black ice is now commonly referred to as clear ice. This term accurately describes the appearance of the ice, as it is visually transparent and allows the underlying black road to be seen through it. The name “black ice” can be misleading since the ice itself is not actually black in color.

Clear ice, or black ice as it was previously known, is a thin coating of glaze ice that forms on various surfaces, particularly on streets and roads. It occurs when the temperature drops below freezing and moisture, such as rain or melted snow, comes into contact with the cold surface. The moisture then freezes, creating a thin, transparent layer of ice.

The danger of clear ice lies in its deceptive appearance. Unlike snow or slush, which are more visibly noticeable on the road, clear ice is difficult to detect, especially at night or in low light conditions. This makes it highly treacherous for drivers and pedestrians alike, as it can cause vehicles to lose traction and individuals to slip and fall.

I remember one winter when I encountered black ice firsthand. I was driving on a highway late at night, and the road appeared to be wet, but I didn’t think much of it. Suddenly, my car started to slide uncontrollably, and I realized I had hit a patch of black ice. It was a terrifying experience, as I struggled to regain control of the vehicle while trying to stay calm. Thankfully, I managed to steer out of it, but it was a stark reminder of the dangers posed by clear ice.

To prevent accidents on black ice or clear ice, it is important to exercise caution and take necessary precautions. Here are some safety tips:

1. Slow down: Reduce your speed when the road conditions are cold or wet. Driving at a slower pace allows you more time to react if you encounter black ice.

2. Increase following distance: Leave a larger gap between your vehicle and the one in front of you. This gives you more time to stop or maneuver if you hit a patch of clear ice.

3. Stay alert: Pay close attention to the road conditions, especially during colder weather. Look out for signs of black ice, such as a glossy or wet appearance on the road surface.

4. Avoid sudden maneuvers: Make gentle steering, braking, and acceleration movements to avoid losing control on black ice. Sudden actions can cause your vehicle to skid.

5. Use winter tires: Equipping your vehicle with winter tires can greatly improve traction on icy surfaces, including black ice. These tires are specifically designed to provide better grip and handling in cold weather conditions.

6. Be cautious on bridges and overpasses: These areas tend to freeze faster than regular road surfaces, so exercise extra caution when driving over them.

7. Use your headlights: Keep your headlights on, even during the day, to increase your visibility to other drivers. This can help prevent accidents caused by others not seeing your vehicle on black ice.

By being aware of the dangers of clear ice and taking appropriate safety measures, we can reduce the risk of accidents and ensure a safer driving experience during winter months. Remember, even though black ice is called clear ice, it remains a serious hazard that requires vigilance and caution. Stay safe on the roads!