Driving on Black Ice | Park Place BMW in Rochester, MN

Winter weather is coming to Minnesota sooner rather than later. If you’ve lived here for at least one winter, chances are, you know all the best winter driving tricks. If you’re new to the area or a new driver, you probably haven’t had much experience navigating snowy and icy roads.

“Black ice” is a very thin coating of ice that glazes on a surface (like a road), making that surface very slick. While the ice isn’t actually black, it is transparent, showing the asphalt underneath, giving the illusion that there is no ice on the road. It’s hard to see, which means it’s hard to prepare for while driving. You usually don’t know it’s there until you’ve hit it.

Black ice is more likely to develop during the late evening and around dawn. It commonly forms on shaded area of the roads and on bridges and overpasses.

If you encounter black ice while driving, keep these tips in mind:

Don’t get in a hurry.

While driving, don’t get too confident and think you can drive the speed limit. When you’re turning and braking, it is especially important to be slow and cautious.

Keep a safe distance.

According to AAA, when you are driving on snow, ice or black ice, you should increase your following distance to 8-10 seconds. If you need to stop, you’ll have extra time and hopefully avoid crashing into the vehicle in front of you.

Avoid stopping (if you can).

If possible, avoid stopping while driving. It can be very difficult to start moving again if you’re on black ice, especially if you’re on a hill. When you start moving again, you are also more likely to lose control. Try to slow down when you approach a traffic light so you can slow down long enough for the light to change. When approaching a hill, try to build up some speed to make it to the top so your car doesn’t stop or roll backwards.

Don’t pump the brakes (if they are antilock brakes).

If your vehicle is equipped with antilock brakes, there is no need to pump the brakes. When you hit black ice, you should not lock your brakes because it can make you lose the ability to steer.


What are your best tips for driving on ice? We want to hear them!

If you’re getting your car geared up for winter driving, consider equipping it with winter tires from our online tire shop. Or even just schedule a service appointment to make sure everything is running smoothly before the winter weather really begins.
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