You’ve probably heard that black ice is one of the most dangerous road conditions you can encounter. In Montana, black ice can occur in some areas throughout many months of the year — particularly on mountain roads. It’s essential to know how to minimize the chances of being involved in a crash caused by black ice.
First, let’s make sure it’s clear what black ice is. It’s not actually black. It’s just difficult to see because it doesn’t have as many air bubbles as ice typically has, so it may look like a bit of water — or be virtually invisible.
It often forms overnight when the sun goes down and temperatures drop. However, it can be found anywhere water collects and doesn’t evaporate before it freezes or refreezes. Therefore, any time you’re driving in freezing or subfreezing temperatures, it’s safe to assume that anything that looks like water on the road could potentially be black ice and to try to avoid it.
If you can’t avoid it, and you’re going to have to drive over it, keep your foot off the accelerator. Try not to brake, either. This can cause you to skid. If you have to brake to slow down, pump your brake.
If you start to skid, remember that you should steer in the direction that you’re skidding. Again, pump the brake — don’t slam your foot on it.
While snow tires and chains are often necessary on Montana roads in the winter, don’t count on them to protect you from black ice. These things provide greater traction, as do four-wheel-drive vehicles. However, since you can’t get any traction on black ice, there’s no traction to increase.
If you’re injured in a crash caused by a driver hitting black ice, don’t assume that they were powerless over it, and therefore, they can’t be held responsible. Drivers need to adjust their behavior accordingly when inclement weather hits. Talk with an attorney about your options to make sure you get the compensation you need and deserve.