Now I’ve been driving for more than a minute, yet whenever I hear weather reports about black ice, I kind of get a knot in my stomach. When I was still a babe-in-the-woods motorist, I was driving to school and my vehicle came upon a stretch of black ice. I had heard about the cursed thing but had never driven on a sheet of ice. Well, I threw caution to the wind and being young and dumb, never once thought about the potential dangers of not exercising extra precautionary measures when driving over black ice. Well, my car hit a super slippery patch and it went every direction possible. All I could do was hold on to the steering wheel for dear life and recite the “Our Father” backwards and forwards.
After what seemed to be an eternity, I was able to regain control of the car and thankfully, there were no other vehicles around. My car spun around as if it were doing some newfangled club dance, I’ll never forget that day or how I reacted, PITIFULLY!
I have thus learned my lesson and now I want to offer you some tips on how to drive on black ice. If an experience similar to mine has not happened to you, it will, especially if you drive often and live in an area where black ice is inevitable. Hopefully the tips that I offer will prevent you from freaking out and keep you safe from that dreadful slick and virtually invisible menace:
1) On super cold days, listen to the weather report, if you hear black ice, prepare your eyes to be on the lookout for it. Be ever-so-watchful, look for pavement that is dark, slick and wet-looking. Spotting black ice is real tricky. You want to be on the safe side and drive slowly just in case your car happens to hit a patch. If you do think you see a patch of black ice, downshift to a lower gear, so that you’ll have better control of your vehicle.
2) You’re on black ice, now what? Take your foot off the gas pedal. DON’T give your vehicle more gas!
3) DON’T hit those brakes! Instinctually, you’ll want to slam the brakes hard like Fred Flintstone because you want to stop the vehicle from sliding all over the place, fight the urge. If you hit the brakes, you further lose control of the car. Instead, you’ll want to LIGHTLY tap the brake pedal.
4) If you begin to skid, turn in the direction of the skid, this will help get you back to square one where you should be able to regain control of the car.
5) “Oh so you think your four wheel drive SUV is immune to black ice mishaps?” WRONG! Four wheel drive vehicles have NO advantage over regular cars when it comes to black ice.
6) If your tires are worn, don’t attempt to drive it when there are black ice reports, it will be a losing battle.
7) Bad road conditions? Don’t tailgate, leave enough room between you and the vehicle in front, at least a couple of hundred feet. If you see cars in front begin to slide, then you will be better prepared to deal with the black ice condition if you maintain a safe distance.
8) Don’t forget to buckle up for safety, it’s a tried and true warning so take heed!