As winter rapidly approaches and temperatures begin to fall, snow and ice can present difficult and dangerous road hazards that can affect your daily drive. While wet roads and roads covered with packed snow or ice are obvious hazards, black ice, however, lacks the signals that convey its danger to drivers and cause serious injuries. Black ice occurs more commonly at night and early in the morning, when temperatures are lowest.
Although not actually black, black ice, also known as clear ice or glare ice, is so thin and transparent that the dark pavement shows through. A roadway covered with black ice can make it look wet or even clear rather than icy.
At temperatures below freezing, any water that comes in contact with the road can turn to ice. Sources of water include:
•· Rain that spreads out and freezes on contact
•· Spray (drops of water whipped up by wind and waves in a body of water nearby)
•· Melting snow banks
•· Exhaust from idling automobiles
The stopping distance of vehicles on black ice has been measured at about nine times that of the same vehicle on dry pavement. Vehicles with four-wheel drive or with snow tires fare no better. Studded tires can reduce the stopping distance up to 20-50 percent respectively. In Delaware, studded tires are permitted from October 15 to April 15. However, no tires used on the highways of Delaware may have on their peripheries any blocks, studs, flanges, cleats or spikes or any other protuberances of any material other than rubber which project beyond the traction surface.
Here are some precautions you can take to decrease your likelihood of being involved in a “black ice collision”:
•· Drive slowly at near freezing temperatures and where black ice is more prone to form.
•· If you begin to skid, don’t slam on your brakes. Turn your wheel into the direction of the skid, take your foot off the accelerator and, if need be, SLOWLY apply pressure on the brake.
•· If you suspect, or there is evidence of black ice ahead, such as other sliding vehicles, slow down and shift to a lower gear.
•· Leave plenty of space between your and other vehicles. During a black ice warning, leave at least 200 feet between your vehicle and the vehicle ahead of yours.
•· Inspect your tires regularly. A balding tire provides less control in most conditions.
•· Avoid driving with your cruise control active during potentially icy conditions.
Black ice can complicate how liability is determined in a motor vehicle accident case. If you are not complying with the speed limits or taking extra precautions while operating a vehicle under wintry conditions, black ice may not be a defense to avoid liability.
If you are involved in an auto accident in Sussex County, Delaware, the first thing you should do is call the police. Next, get the name, address, insurance company and policy number from the other driver at the scene of the accident. If there are any witnesses to the accident, be sure to get their names and phone numbers. It is also helpful to take some photographs of the scene of the accident. If you are injured in an accident, be sure to seek treatment for the injuries as soon as possible. With no medical record of your injuries, it will be difficult to receive fair compensation. An experienced personal injury attorney can help you navigate through the insurance process for PIP, property damage and liability issues. If you or a loved one has been injured in a motor vehicle accident involving black ice in Delaware, call our personal injury attorneys at Tunnell & Raysor, P.A. We can help ensure that you receive the full compensation you may be entitled! TRUST US TO BE YOUR VOICE!