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Tips for Driving Over Black Ice


Indiana winters can make for treacherous driving conditions. The Indiana Department of Transportation’s (IDOT) slogan “Ice and Snow, Take it Slow!” serves as a valid reminder.

One of the dangers that an Indiana winter road presents is black ice. Black ice is defined as transparent ice that is hard to see, appearing black over the asphalt. Roads covered in black ice often appear dry and can take a driver by surprise. That’s why even if drivers can’t see a weather-related issue like black ice, they should pay attention to weather advisories and drive like such a condition is always present.

AAA warns that the best way to avoid black ice is not to drive in such conditions. If you can’t avoid driving over black ice, IDOT warns, “Take it slow when approaching intersections, off-ramps, bridges or shady areas – all are hot spots for black ice.”

IDOT and AAA also have some other helpful tips for driving over black ice:

  • Increase your follow distance to decrease the chance of hitting the driver in front of you. Increasing by ten seconds or more is a good measure.
  • Ease off the gas pedal if you begin to slide or the tires slip.
  • If skidding, steer in the direction that you want the front of your car to go. Make sure to ease off both the gas pedal and the brake.
  • Keep your tire pressure up. Cold weather decreases pressure, reducing your traction capability on ice.
  • Update your windshield wipers and use windshield washer fluid to increase your vision.
  • Keep your headlights on to increase your visibility.
  • Do not use cruise control in icy conditions.
  • Keep a kit of water, blankets, and first-aid items in your car (as part of an emergency kit) in case you are involved in a wreck.

Other safe driving tips still apply. This includes putting the cell phone away and avoiding other distractions. Reckless driving is a problem at all times, and can be even more problematic in adverse driving conditions such as when there’s ice and snow on the roads.

Who Is Liable in a Black Ice-Related Car Wreck?

If you have been injured in a car accident caused by another driver who loses control of his or her car because of black ice, that driver can still be held accountable for your injuries, repairs, and other damages.

Every driver has an obligation to understand the conditions under which he or she chooses to drive. Weather is one of those conditions. Therefore, no matter how extreme the weather, it often fails to absolve driver responsibility. That means you still deserve just compensation if a driver didn’t heed the warnings and/or drive responsibly given the current weather conditions.

If you need help with injuries received in an Indiana car accident involving a reckless driver and black ice, call Hensley Legal Group for a FREE consultation.