Massachusetts Legal Blog

Protect Yourself from Black Ice This Winter

Winter has returned with a vengeance. As usual, the return of winter is accompanied by inclement weather and the return of slip and fall accidents that result from the snow and ice. While adults and children may differ on their love for snow in the winter, the season also brings another hazard that none of us looks forward to dealing with: black ice. So, what exactly is “black ice,” why does it occur, and most importantly, how can you protect yourself from it? Today, let’s take a look from the perspective of a personal injury lawyer.

What Exactly is Black Ice?

So, what is black ice? Black ice is simply a very thin layer of ice that forms on top of the pavement.  It is so thin that basically blends in with the asphalt (also referred to as blacktop) surface.  This thin layer of ice is virtually transparent, making it very difficult to see. As anyone who has lived in the colder parts of the country will tell you, you must be very careful to avoid falling on the snow or ice in the winter. It is even more difficult to avoid falling on something you cannot see easily, like black ice.

Where does Black Ice Come From?

Black ice is clearly something best avoided. It is the cause of many car accidents. Exactly where does it come from you ask? Well, when the temperature rises after a snowstorm, usually during the daytime hours, the snow begins to melt.  However, when the temperature drops below freezing again, that melted snow freezes and coats the streets and pavements with ice. So, when we go driving after dark, the road that had been wet from melting snow a few hours earlier has now become a dangerous sheet of ice.

The same process will occur if the wet road was caused by rain. The rain will freeze and become black ice. Keep in mind that black ice formation (actually all ice in general) will occur even quicker on elevated surfaces, such as bridges. This is because the elevated surface will cool quicker than the road built on solid ground so quicker ice formation will occur.

Avoiding Car Accidents

Now we have the perfect scenario set for those falls on your sidewalk and hazardous driving conditions that will unfortunately resultant in a multitude of car accidents and related injuries.  Driving in the dark poses an additional risk due to decreased visibility even under clear road conditions. When you add ice covered roads to the mix, the danger level significantly increases. With black ice, this increased danger is also present in the daytime, as black ice is basically invisible.

Be Safe and Protect Yourself from Black Ice

There are ways to protect yourself when driving in situations where black ice is or may be present. These include easing off the gas to slow down before you need to brake, slow down before you go into a curve, and avoiding braking when going into curves or turning the steering wheel. The more you brake on an icy surface the more likely it is that your vehicle will go into a slide. You have no control over a vehicle skating around on the ice. These tips will also make it safer for you when driving in the rain.

Consult an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney

If you have been involved in an accident due to black ice or other winter conditions, contact a personal injury lawyer at the Shapiro Law Group for help. Our attorneys can assist you through the whole mess, start to finish. A knowledgeable personal injury attorney is available to fight for your rights and ensure you get the representation you deserve. Call today at 339-248-2300 for a free consultation.