Created: Tue, 28 Jan 2014 11:17:00 EST
Updated: Tue, 28 Jan 2014 11:20:45 EST
Winter provides challenges and responsibilities for the public and the Bibb County Sheriff’s Office. We asking that drivers be well prepared and be cautious for ice and snow on the roadways. Rain, sleet, snow and ice can make for an unpleasant driving experience. Motorists should be extremely cautious when driving in bad weather conditions. Ice covered roadways can be the most dangerous, especially when it turns out to be black ice, which is nearly invisible.
Black ice is a very thin layer of frozen water containing few bubbles of air. The lack of air bubbles makes the layer of ice transparent and causes the surface of the roadway to look slightly wet and not icy. This can be detrimental to drivers who come upon the black ice covered road unknowingly. Out of nowhere the vehicle can start to skid and slide in any direction, causing a vehicle to become out of control.
Typically black ice is most commonly found on roads winding around bodies of water such as lakes, rivers or on overpasses. Moisture in the air freezes when it comes in contact with the much colder roadway. Additionally, a sudden drop in temperature can cause an already wet roadway to quickly freeze.
Here are a few tips on how to drive on black ice:
- Drive slowly – The best way to avoid skidding out of control is to operate your vehicle at a slower speed. A slower speed will even give you more time to react to the effects of black ice
- Don't slam the brakes - While it may be a natural instinct to slam on your brakes, this will only cause your car to lose control and slide even more. Tap the brake pedal lightly instead of pushing down hard on it.
- Maintain a safe following distance – In situations like this, you need to extend your following distance to ensure you will have ample time to react to the motorist ahead especially if they begin to lose control.
- Look for trouble spots ahead - If you have an idea that there may be black ice ahead (if you see cars ahead of you sliding, for example), downshift to a lower gear before you come onto the black ice. The lower gear will force you to drive more slowly and it will give you better control of your car.
- As soon as your car begins to slide on black ice, take your foot off the gas pedal - In fact, the last thing you want to do is give your vehicle more gas. It is very important to slow down when you are driving on black ice or in any other winter road conditions.
Other safety tips include:
* Do not travel unless absolutely necessary—if you do have to make a trip, check the forecast and plan ahead with safety in mind.
* Plan ahead and make sure before you head out: is your trip necessary?
* Always keep your gas tank at least two-thirds full to prevent the vehicle’s fuel line from freezing.
*Dress warmly for the weather—dress in layers of loose-fitting, lightweight clothing in anticipation of unexpected winter weather emergencies.
*Make sure someone is aware of your travel route.
*Always carry an emergency car care kit that contains jumper cables, flares or reflectors, windshield washer fluid a small ice scraper, traction material, blankets, non-perishable food and a first aid kit.
*Carry a cell phone and make sure it is charged.
*If you see any roadway hazards or persons in need of help please contact the Bibb County Sheriff’s Office at 478-751-7500, for Emergencies call 911.