“Black ice” remains a major driving safety issue, and the cause of many serious accidents and accident injuries.
For those unfamiliar with the term, “black ice” is a condition in which a thin coating of clear ice forms over a roadway. It creates a very slippery condition that is especially hazardous as it can be very difficult to see, especially at night. As such, if a vehicle goes over “black ice” it can lead to loss of vehicle control and, in many cases, (serious) vehicle accidents.
“Black ice” conditions have existed in Illinois, including Southern Illinois. The Illinois Department of Transportation has warned of “black ice” on numerous occasions, including the January 6, 2014 news release titled “Dangerous Weather Force Road Closures Statewide; Motorists Still Urged to Stay Off Roads in Some Areas” which pertained to dangerous driving conditions on Illinois roads.
An excerpt from that release:
“With the freezing temperatures, black ice is a major concern,” said Illinois Transportation Secretary Ann L. Schneider. “Black ice forms on roads that appear clear and the unseen ice can be treacherous. We encourage motorists, if they must travel, to take it slow when approaching intersections, off-ramps, bridges and shady areas – all are prone to black ice. Motorists should use extreme caution, buckle up, avoid distractions and check www.gettingaroundillinois.com for the latest winter road conditions and road closures.”
Another excerpt further warns of black ice and its characteristics:
Watch out for black ice on roads that appear clear but can be treacherous. Take it slow when approaching intersections, off-ramps, bridges and shady areas – all are prone to black ice, which is often invisible.
Black ice conditions have recently caused or been a contributing factor in many Southern Illinois car crashes. These crashes have included major loss of control crashes, including cars spinning out, going into ditches, and assorted other vehicle wrecks.
The January 18, 2016 Randolph County Herald Tribune article titled “Black ice causes havoc” discusses a bunch of crashes that have occurred in Randolph County on Thursday morning, January 14.
An excerpt from the article:
At least eight accidents, caused by black ice and involving 11 vehicles and 14 people, occurred between 6:30 a.m. and 8 a.m. on Jan. 14, sending first responders scrambling to multiple areas of the county.
The article also notes numerous other accidents that happened in the general area. As reported by the Illinois State Police (ISP) District 13, 17 other accidents occurred, including two that involved personal injury.
Another excerpt from the article:
In what was called “perfect conditions” for black ice, the Ellis Grove, Steeleville and Chester fire departments worked separate accident scenes at the same time at one point.
The article also further discusses how and when black ice forms. Further descriptions of the various accidents of that day are provided. These accidents involved the slick road conditions leading to various loss of control conditions, including vehicles sliding, spinning out, and rollovers.
The article displays photos of accident scenes showing vehicles overturned and otherwise crashed and badly damaged.
As to what to do to avoid such crashes, not driving (if possible) in such hazardous conditions exist is likely the best option. However, as this may not be an option, being aware of and taking appropriate actions when black ice may exist, as described above, is valuable. Other common winter driving safety tips, including a reduction in speed in snowy and icy conditions, seems advisable. As well, checking local driving conditions and warnings is another tip.
Other safety options include such vehicle tips as making sure tires have sufficient tread life and traction effectiveness. Snow tires may provide additional vehicle traction.