Black Ice

The good news is that pesky polar vortex has finally decided to kick rocks and roll out of Chicago’s air space. The better news is that it could warm up to a blistering 40 degrees by Sunday. 40 degrees! When I heard that I almost ripped open my seasonal closet and busted out my shorts and flip-flops. But then I kept reading and was devastated to find out that by the very next day, Monday, temps are expected to drop back down into the twenties. Of course.

Not only does this mean no flip-flops, but it also means that it’s likely we’ll be seeing some black ice out there when all of that melted snow freezes again. Grreeeaaatttt.

I had a bad experience with black ice once during a trip to Wisconsin with a few girlfriends. The long of the short of it is we lost control of the car and were hurtled off of a cliff (fine, it was more like a five-foot hill but it definitely felt like a cliff) and we landed in a massive ditch in spectacular fashion. We were all very lucky to have come out of that okay, but to this day it’s still scary to think about. So in light of my own past experiences and any potential, looming black ice out there in the future, I’ve researched some safety tips on what to do if you find yourself sliding on black ice:

1.) Be Mindful of the Condition of Your Tires

Make sure to regularly check the treads on your tires to see if they’re up to par. The last thing you need in this weather is tires that have no grip.

2.) Space and Speed

In icy conditions, please drive slower than usual, even if it makes you feel like a grandma, and keep plenty of space between cars.

3.) Steer in the Direction of the Skid

That means steer slightly towards whatever direction the back end of your car is swerving towards. If your back end goes left, steer left to correct the skid. Struggling against this and steering the opposite way is what the experts say causes spinouts.

4.) Do Not Slam on the Breaks

Experts say slamming on the brakes can make things worse. They recommend taking your foot off the gas and coasting off of the ice, or lightly tapping the brake pedal, until you’re back in the clear.

Sources:

http://www.arifleet.com/publications/safety_tips/tips_for_driving_on_black_ice/

http://www.edmunds.com/car-safety/driving-on-snow-and-ice-10-safety-tips.html

http://www.drive-safely.net/driving-on-ice.html

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