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Warmer days and cold nights create driving hazards

On Behalf of | Feb 19, 2024 | Motor Vehicle Accidents |

People who don’t live in Southwestern New York or Northwestern Pennsylvania may not understand the excitement of temperatures reaching the 30s and 40s after weeks of snow and freezing cold.

And while this type of weather may produce better maple syrup in these parts, it’s important to remember that it can inspire unique driving hazards as well.

Black ice

During the day, the sun’s warmth can melt snow and ice on the roads, creating wet surfaces. However, as temperatures drop at night, these wet surfaces can quickly freeze over, leading to black ice, a thin, transparent layer of ice that’s extremely slippery and often difficult to spot.

It tends to form on shaded road areas, overpasses, bridges, and less-traveled roads that cool down faster. And, in a rural area with plenty of hills and valleys, there are plenty of opportunities for black ice to form. Because it’s almost invisible, drivers may not realize they’re on black ice until their vehicle starts to skid.

While most drivers are experienced with these kinds of driving conditions, it never hurts to be reminded of the following tips:

  • Reduce your speed in icy conditions, especially in areas where black ice tends to form. Black ice is notorious for catching even the most experienced driver off-guard.
  • Increase the gap between your car and the one in front of you to provide yourself with plenty of stopping distance.
  • If you encounter black ice, avoid slamming on your brakes or making sudden steering movements. Instead, keep your steering wheel steady and let your vehicle pass over the ice.
  • Make sure your vehicle is equipped for winter conditions. This includes having winter tires, keeping your windshield clear, and ensuring your car’s lights are clean and working.

Warm days followed by freezing nights can make wintertime driving tricky. But, by being prepared and vigilant, you can arrive safely at your destination. And remember, spring will soon be here.