How to Deal with Black Ice

Black ice isn’t really black.  It’s clear. And it’s extremely dangerous.Black ice is a thin layer of frozen water on the surface of the road.  The asphalt underneath shows through, making it appear as though the pavement is merely wet.Since it will occur at times when much of the road has water on it, black ice is often nearly impossible to detect until you are driving on it, at which time the slightest change in speed or direction can have catastrophic results.

When should you worry about black ice?

Water freezes at 0 degrees Celsius.  Temperatures can fluctuate over short distances due to local changes in atmosphere, the makeup of road surfaces, and changes in sunlight falling on the road.  Generally, you should be cautious when the temperature drops to 5 degrees or so. Bridges and other elevated sections of road develop ice first, because air can circulate underneath and lower their temperature faster than roads directly on the ground.

How can I spot black ice?

Most of the time, you can’t see it - you need to anticipate it.  Anytime the temperature gets close to freezing, watch the upper corners of your windshield and the backs of your mirrors.  If ice forms there, it will form on the road surface.  Look for spray coming up from the wheels of other vehicles.  Ice won’t splash up as water does.  Be especially careful on bridges and in shaded areas.

How can I prevent an accident?

Anytime you suspect icy conditions, reduce your speed significantly.  Remember, braking capacity will be greatly compromised, and even a simple lane-change can cause a wreck.  Triple your regular following distance.

How do I handle a skid?

If you start to skid, depress the clutch pedal quickly to disengage the transmission.  Concentrate on putting the truck in front of the trailer – the weight of the trailer will cause you to jackknife if you don’t.At First Class Training Centre, our trainers have decades of real-world trucking experience to draw on.  To find out what makes us the city’s best truck driving school, visit us online or call Toll Free 1-855-632-5302.In the Winnipeg area call 204-632-5302.

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