When does black ice usually appear on Tennessee roads?

by | Mar 12, 2015

A week of winter storms recently left Tennessee in a state of emergency for days. Over 60,000 people were without power throughout the state as the result of some of the most severe weather in recent memory. Roadways, windshields and power lines were all coated in a thick layer of ice that left motorists stranded on unsafe roads.

This ice, known as black ice when it clings to the roads and pavement, is one of the most dangerous hazards motorists faced during the storm. It receives the name not from its color, but from its tendency to look exactly like the roads beneath it. A car accident attorney in Nashville knows that when motorists drive over black ice on the roads, they have no forewarning and are often left at the mercy of the ice.

What is black ice?

According to Accuweather.com, black ice usually forms when the air is at or below 32 degrees at the surface and it is actively raining.  The ground is so cold that the water freezes on impact and creates a sheet of black ice. The ice can range from relatively thin to inches in thickness, depending on the weather conditions. Sleet may also generate black ice, as can the refreezing of water or snow as temperatures rise and drop throughout the day and over time.

The most common time for black ice to form is at dawn and late in the evening on wintry days. This is when temperatures are usually the lowest. The substance can often be found in shaded or tree-covered driveways and roads because of the sun’s inability to penetrate and melt the ice. Other common areas in which it forms are bridges and overpasses because they often freeze quickly. A car accident attorney in Nashville understands that motorists should always use extreme caution when driving in these areas in weather with at- or below-freezing temperatures to avoid dangerous accidents.

Preventing accidents

The most obvious way to prevent potentially fatal collisions in winter weather is to stay off of the roads. Unfortunately, this is not always possible. When unavoidable, the key to driving safely in dangerous weather is to drive slowly and carefully. No matter what roadways motorists use, they should never go above 45 miles per hour in icy conditions. If a vehicle begins to slide or fishtail, the motorist is going too fast for the road conditions. When black ice is present, motorists may be injured in an accident while driving at only 10 miles per hour, so constant vigilance is required.

Those who have been injured or whose loved ones have been killed in winter accidents may have a valid personal injury claim. Injured parties should contact a car accident attorney in Nashville for a case review and to help them through the claims process.