10.26.13 Be Alert for Black Ice

After an interstate closure due to a black ice accident Saturday, Meteorologist Michael Page has tips on to stay safe.
Black ice caused a multi-car accident on I-91 in Rockingham, Vermont Saturday morning. The interstate was closed for a time while the scene was cleared.

The ice formed on a bridge, a common place for black ice formation. Bridges often ice up before other portions of the road because they are exposed to air on all sides. That extra exposure allows the roadway temperature to cool off more quickly as the air chills off around it. A normal stretch of roadway, on the other hand, cools more slowly since it's just exposed on one side.

Black ice is a thin, nearly invisible coating of ice that forms when moisture lingers on roads during that drop in temperature. We may see more develop early Sunday morning following today's rain showers.

Motorists often hit black ice at full speed since they can't see it and aren't expecting it. That's part of the reason why many black ice crashes involve multiple cars.

If you do hit black ice, experts say it's best to coast in a straight line. Avoid using your breaks, turning, or accelerating. If you do need to turn, do so gently and try not to over correct. Obviously these events happen quickly, so staying calm will no doubt help.
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