What To Do If You Slip On Black Ice This Winter While Walking Or Driving

by Ileana Paules-Bronet
Ileana is the Editor of Original Content at LittleThings. She grew up in upstate New York and Oregon and now lives in Queens, NY. Ileana graduated from Skidmore College with a degree in sociology. After graduating, she attended the Columbia Publishing Course in New York City, then worked as in marketing at Oxford University Press. Since transitioning to editorial, she has written for sites like BuzzFeed, HuffPost, and Unwritten. She has also worked for local newspapers and magazines in upstate New York. In her free time, you can find Ileana watching Law and Order: SVU, eating ice cream, and spending time with her dog.

Winter is definitely here. Although it doesn’t officially start until mid-December, cold weather has taken over much of the country.

Plenty of states have already had ice and snow this year. Each winter, people and animals end up in all sorts of trouble because of cold weather, like this fawn who got stuck in the ice.

And when ice forms, its sinister cousin, black ice, also forms.

Almost everyone has heard of black ice, but few people actually know what it is and why it’s more dangerous than normal ice.

Black ice makes a lot of people slip and fall every year. It also makes cars slide around and causes accidents.

Before winter fully sets in, learn more about the dangerous effects of black ice. Read below to find out more about what it is, what makes it so dangerous, and how to stay safe.

Thumbnail Photo: Wikimedia / Simon A. Eugster

What Is Black Ice?

what is black ice
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According to The Weather Channel:

The most basic definition of black ice is a thin coat of highly transparent ice. The reason it is transparent is because it blends in with road pavements since it is so thin, making it nearly impossible to see. It’s called black ice since it looks black, like the color of the road pavement it forms on.

Why Is Black Ice Worse Than Normal Ice?

black ice normal ice
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The reason black ice is worse than normal ice is because it is often invisible on pavement.

Because it’s so difficult to see, people are more likely to slip on it and less able to avoid it.

What Causes Black Ice?

what causes black ice
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The Weather Channel explains that black ice forms when the temperature drops below freezing after the ground has already become wet.

There are two main ways this can happen: if the sun melts snow during the day, or if it rains before the temperature drops.

What To Do If You Slip On Black Ice
Stay Calm

slip black ice
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If you start to slip on black ice, don’t freak out. Staying calm will help you from injuring yourself too badly.

Try not to tense your muscles as you fall; staying relaxed will help you maintain your composure.

Keep your arms in, try to land on your butt, and keep your head protected.

Assess Yourself

fall black ice
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After you’ve landed on the ground, assess your body.

You’ll have a rush of adrenaline that may numb some pain, so try to relax and figure out if you have any injuries.

Get Help And Warn Others

get help warn others
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If you’re injured, call a friend or family member for help. If it’s severe, call 911.

If you’ve determined that you’re not injured, stand up and warn others about the patch of ice.

What To Do If Your Car Slips On Black Ice
Be Logical

be logical
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When you’re in your car, black ice can be even more dangerous for both you and other drivers.

If your car starts to slip or skid on ice, don’t act impulsively. Stay calm and think logically.

Keep Your Steering Wheel Straight

keep steering wheel straight
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“Keep your steering wheel straight. If you turn the wheel, you have a better chance of sliding and losing control of your vehicle,” explains The Weather Channel.

It’s hard to remember during the moment, but you can keep yourself safer if you try to keep your car stable.

Don't Brake

don't brake
Laura Caseley for LittleThings

Another thing you shouldn’t do is brake. Take your foot off the accelerator, and let the car slow down on its own.

If you brake, the car will slide, which can make things even more dangerous.

Everyone should know more about black ice. Please SHARE this article with your friends!