It is a hidden killer on the roads of Wyoming. Black ice has been the main cause of many accidents across the Cowboy State.

What is black ice?

It's exactly what the name says.

Black ice forms on the roads and because ice is clear, it magnifies the color of the road. Since most roads are made of asphalt, the black becomes a bit glossy, but you can't really see the ice forming.

Black ice is really only the name it's given, because it acts just like regular ice, just really hard to see.

One interesting characteristic of black ice is that it forms without creating bubbles. That is one of the ways it blends in with the roadway.

It's hard to predict where black ice will form but you should always be extra cautious when:

  • traveling at night or early morning
  • driving through an area that doesn't see much sunshine
  • driving over bridges and overpasses. Because the cold air is able to freeze the top and bottom of the road at the same time

In Wyoming black ice is one of the leading causes of accidents during snowy, winter conditions.

Here's how to drive on black ice

  • remain calm and avoid over correcting or reacting
  • do as little as possible and allow the vehicle to pass over it
  • don't hit the brakes
  • try to keep the steering wheel straight

If you start to fishtail (back of your car going to the left or right)

  • turn into the direction the back of your car is going
  • let off the accelerator - slowing down will help you regain control
  • shift to a lower gear

If you start to skid or lose your traction

  • Anti-lock braking systems will pump for you - apply your foot to the brake
  • No Anti-lock brakes pump your brakes gently as you skid
  • Steer your car in the direction you want it to go

If you encounter black ice, the important part is to be calm. Then alert other drivers you see, by flashing your lights or putting on your hazard lights.

Find out more about handling black ice here.

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