Multiple accidents occurred locally on I-76, I-95 and I-476, together claiming the lives of three people and causing many more injuries.
There were major traffic delays on many roads in the Philadelphia area due to these accidents and the road conditions. The worst accident occurred on the Schuylkill Expressway, where 60 cars were involved in an accident that closed the road for seven hours.
The cause was black ice. When a thin layer of ice with very few bubbles forms on a cold surface – like a roadway or sidewalk – it is difficult to see and actually makes the surface look wet, not icy. This is called black ice. The ice takes on the color of the surface below it, which in most cases is asphalt.
The result is a very serious and potentially dangerous situation because it is extremely difficult to detect black ice, especially while driving.
Safety Tips For Driving On Black Ice
At the heart of every car accident caused by black ice is the loss of tire traction. It does not matter what vehicle you are driving, or how good your driving skills are, when traction is gone the car will slide uncontrollably.
But there are ways to minimize your chances of being involved in an accident on an icy road. Here are some tips if you come upon black ice in winter weather conditions:
- Leave a safe distance between you and the car in front you. The more time you have to react in a black ice situation, and the further away the car ahead of you is, the better the chance you have at avoiding an accident.
- Make sure to drive slowly. Decrease your speed to avoid skidding out of control if and when you do hit black ice and other slippery areas. You can even downshift ahead of time if you see cars in front of you braking that may have already hit the ice.
- When you feel yourself sliding on ice, take your foot off the gas pedal. Do not slam on the brakes. It is natural to want to do this. It will not keep you from sliding but actually cause you to slide even more. Try lightly tapping the brakes instead.
An important thing to keep in mind is that although it may seem counter-intuitive, you should initially steer into a skid rather than reacting by trying to turn out of it.
Pay close attention to the road surface in front of you and never assume it is safe. Although the road may have been treated or plowed, this does not mean it is free of black ice. If you see a potential problem, do not brake immediately. Simply take your foot off the accelerator to gently slow the car down and keep traction. Smooth and steady is the best chance you have of keeping a grip on the road.
Dealing With The Legal Aspects Of A Black Ice Accident
However, you should ensure that you are not negligent by demonstrating you have done everything you possibly can to avoid having an accident. By following the tips in this article, you can minimize the chances of having an accident, or being held liable in the event you are involved in one.
As with any accident, try to take photos and gather witness details. Be careful though if you exit your vehicle. Especially with an accident involving black ice, other drivers that come upon the scene may also lose control of their vehicles.
Once you have gathered all the details, contact a personal injury lawyer, such as one of us here at Donaghue & Labrum, so that we can assess the situation surrounding the accident and carefully advise you on your rights and best course of action.
Accidents in any condition are traumatic and can cause potentially life changing injuries, some of which will not be immediately obvious. No matter how minor the accident was, it’s always best to get professional advice in order to make sure that your best interests are covered.