Sometimes it’s icy cold; then, it’s plus degrees again. Black ice, in particular, can cause dangerous situations for drivers time and again in winter. Here’s what to watch out for in black ice.
Temperatures are fluctuating at the moment. Anyone on the roads, whether by car, bicycle or on foot, is challenged at all times. Weather experts distinguish between black ice, where the road is already wet when it gets cold and black ice, where the cold comes first and only then the wet. “Black ice, in particular, repeatedly causes dangerous driving situations in winter,” knows Roland Frisch, the chief car instructor at ÖAMTC Fahrtechnik.
What drivers should be aware of when driving on black ice
This particularly treacherous winter weather phenomenon occurs when raindrops freeze on impact with the cold road surface. A layer of ice forms, and the roads turn into glassy slides in seconds. Even light snowfall or fog can trigger the rapid formation of black ice. It is essential to remember: “Temperatures above the zero-degree mark are no guarantee of a safe road surface because the ground cools down considerably in winter,” says the head of the ÖAMTC Fahrtechnik Zentrum Melk/Wachauring.
Adapted speed and sufficient distance required.
Adapted speed, sufficient distance, anticipatory driving, sensitive steering and not allowing yourself to be “rushed” under any circumstances can mean the difference between “going just fine” and “accident” on black ice. “Even on the way to the parking lot, the situation can be seen to some extent, and you can assess the current road condition,” says Frisch, who recommends driving with extra caution around bridges, forest aisles, hilltops and open areas. If a rider is on the skids despite all warnings, then foot off the gas pedal, disengage and steer in the desired direction of travel. “The view must always go in the desired direction of travel,” advises the ÖAMTC expert. After all, an old rule of thumb of the pros is: wherever you look, that’s where you steer.
Driving on ice is not easy, especially for inexperienced drivers
Driving on ice and snow is a challenge, especially for inexperienced drivers. You can practice the correct behaviour in winter driving conditions, for example, during a Snow & Fun training course offered by ÖAMTC Fahrtechnik or during a period at one of the eight driving technique centers throughout Austria.