Zach’s Weather Whys: The dangers of black ice

Digital Originals

CENTRAL ILLINOIS — It’s dangerous and sometimes you can’t see it: Black ice.

Black ice is one of the many hazards that comes with a blast of winter weather. It’s commonly found when freezing rain accumulates on roadways. The ideal timeframe for ice formation is overnight when temps are usually coldest.

You can’t see black ice because it blends in with the asphalt. This gives the illusion that the ice is black or dark when in fact it’s not.

Just like any ice, it’s transparent and only takes a light glaze to cause slippery roads. If you are out driving and notice dark, glossy spots on the road, it’s likely black ice. You could drive over a patch at night and not notice until it’s already too late.

You are likely to find this stuff on bridges, overpasses and shaded spots on roadways. Bridges are vulnerable to black ice because cold air flows underneath the road surface and keeps the temperatures much colder. Shaded areas receive less sunshine and therefore keep that frozen layer longer.

Keep your eyes peeled any time you have to drive in the elements, but always respect the power of black ice. It’s also best to check road conditions before heading out.

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