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Farmers Almanac
The 2014 Farmers Almanac
Farmers' Almanac

Black Ice Ahead!

Black Ice Ahead!

Virtually every part of the US has felt the wrath of Father Winter, and  it isn’t over yet — not by a long shot. This morning, I saw a clip of a car going off a bridge (driver survived) which reminds me of one of the most dangerous aftermaths of winter — black ice. It isn’t really black but it can show up anytime or anywhere temps are below freezing for an extended period.

Black ice is actually clear. It’s a  thin strip of ice or sleet on roads. It is transparent so you only see black tar and can be unaware of the danger. In Maine. we see it in March and April but after this past week of subzero temps, precipitation and lots of cars on the road, it can be anywhere roads are not well treated. Even when treated, an overnight mist or fog combined with low temperatures can be a recipe for disaster.

Be especially careful traveling on bridges as the cold temperatures under the bridge combines with the cold temperature above and you can completely lose control of your car.
What to do:

  • Approach bridges with care. Try breaking to be sure the road is treated.
  • Keep your distance from other cars.
  • Don’t jam on the brakes — you’ll go spinning.
  • Take your foot off the accelerator.
  • Turn the wheel in the direction of the skid. It seems wrong but it helps gain control.
  • Stay calm (if you can).
  • Oh yeah — wear your seatbelt. It comes in handy for such an emergency. Drive safely — we have an exciting year ahead of us.

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