Be careful out there! Cold winter weather patterns, seen recently with the return of the ‘Beast from the East’, can create one of the most dangerous hazards for road users – dreaded ‘black ice’.
Black ice is a thin coating of ice that forms on roads and pavements in freezing conditions. Its transparency means it blends in with the road surface below, making it incredibly difficult to spot and all the more hazardous.
It’s a major cause of accidents during the winter months. So, whether you’re driving or walking, here are some tips for staying safe when there’s black ice about.
Staying safe whilst you’re driving
- Is your trip essential? During periods of particularly bad weather, we’d advise you to only venture out if you really have to
- Reduce your speed. Even the most experienced motorists would find driving over black ice potentially very dangerous
- If you do find yourself driving on black ice, avoid any sudden turns or harsh braking – this could cause your vehicle to spin out of control
- Your car is likely to have less grip on the road in icy weather. Driving in lower gears, especially near hills, will help you maintain better control of your car’s speed
- Keep your distance, leave plenty of space between yourself and the vehicle in front – if you do hit a patch of black ice, this could make all the difference in helping you avoid a collision
Putting your best foot forward
With many of us working from home under current lockdown restrictions, getting out for a walk and enjoying the fresh air is often the highlight of our day. Don’t let a relaxing stroll take a turn for the worst!
- Wear suitable shoes and boots. Footwear with rubber soles provides better traction, meaning you’re less likely to slip whilst walking on the ice
- Avoid walking with your hands in your pockets or carrying too many items during spells of icy weather – if you slip, you won’t be able to keep your balance and help stop yourself from falling
- We recommend storing your own supply of salt, sand, or grit to use to help keep your property’s driveways, paths, and steps safe in freezing conditions. There are plenty of products out there you can use, such as ‘Ezi melt’ de-icing salt that you can purchase online or at most local hardware stores
Maintaining a sense of community
We’ve spent most of the last 12 months staying home and keeping safe. Let’s continue to look out for one another during these final weeks of winter.
Black ice is particularly dangerous if you’re elderly or suffer from certain health conditions. Whilst many of us would consider a fall embarrassing, for others, it could result in serious injury.
If you know your neighbour is vulnerable and may have difficulty getting in and out of their home, lend a helping hand by offering to clear their path or driveway.