Dangers of Black Ice

Snowy, icy road

Black ice is a thin, transparent layer of ice that forms on pavement. This type of ice is extremely dangerous due to its lack of visibility. Approximately 1,235,000 crashes per year are adverse weather-related and 10 percent of all weather-related fatalities occur on icy pavement, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). By taking extra precautions, Maryland motorists can drive safely and avoid black ice car accidents this winter season.

What Causes Black Ice?

Black ice forms when roads are wet or when dewy or foggy conditions are present and the temperature drops below freezing. It typically forms at night and during the early morning hours when temperatures are lower. Like regular ice, it makes roads slippery and dangerous for those on the road. Bridges, overpasses, and tree-lined roads are especially prone to black ice because the pavement is cooler and receives less sun during the day.

How Ice Leads to Car Accidents

Black ice is not actually black; it is transparent ice that forms a thin layer over the road that it appears to be the same color as the underlying black pavement, therefore drivers usually cannot see it on the roads. When a car hits black ice, it can spin out of control, causing it to slam into other cars, trees, or nearby objects. These car accidents can be deadly; approximately 5,000 people are killed and 418,000 are injured in weather-related crashes each year, according to NHTSA data.

How to Drive Safely

Driving on black ice is dangerous and while it is best not to drive when roads are icy, there are some ways drivers can avoid getting in an accident. The following are helpful tips for driving on black ice:

  • Avoid sudden movements
  • Check your tire tread
  • Do not drive with cruise control
  • Do not slam on the brakes; rather, take your foot off the gas and allow the car to de-accelerate slowly while pumping on the brakes
  • Drive slowly
  • Keep the steering wheel straight
  • Practice driving on ice
  • Shift into a low gear if driving stick shift
  • Steer toward higher-traction areas
  • Turn your headlights on

Compensation for  Injuries

Black ice accident victims may be eligible for compensation for their injuries. Maryland roads are maintained by federal, state, and local governments. They have a duty to maintain the roads, repair road damage, and warn drivers of dangerous conditions. The Federal Highway Administration (FHA) reports that winter road maintenance accounts for approximately 20 percent of state Department of Transportation (DOT) budgets. If improper road maintenance causes black ice to form, which then leads to a car accident, those who are injured may be able to sue the government entity that is responsible. As with individual personal injury lawsuits, both economic and non-economic damages, such as compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering are available in injury claims against the government.

Baltimore Car Accident Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Help Car Accident Victims Pursue Personal Injury Claims

If you were injured in a black ice accident, contact a Baltimore car accident lawyer at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton. We will fight for the compensation and justice you rightfully deserve. To schedule a free consultation, complete our online contact form or call us at 800-547-4LAW (4529).

Located in Baltimore, Columbia, Glen Burnie, and Prince George’s County, we represent clients throughout Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel County, Baltimore County, Carroll County, Harford County, Howard County, Montgomery County, Maryland’s Western Counties, Prince George’s County, Queen Anne’s County, Southern Maryland, and the Eastern Shore, as well as the communities of Catonsville, Essex, Halethorpe, Middle River, Rosedale, Gwynn Oak, Brooklandville, Dundalk, Pikesville, Nottingham, Windsor Mill, Lutherville, Timonium, Sparrows Point, Ridgewood, and Elkridge.