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As we move into the cold winter months, drivers have to understand that they’ll face increased risks on the roads. Even a dusting of snow can make the pavement slick; sheets of ice can make it impossible to stop or turn. Perhaps the most dangerous weather factor for drivers is black ice, which is virtually invisible and causes numerous crashes every year.

Why is it invisible?

One of the biggest problems with black ice is just that it looks like pavement. Drivers have no warning. They often do not slow down or take other precautions, as they would in snow. You can also find sheets of invisible black ice between long stretches of clear pavement, so it’s not always clear that there’s a risk until the car is sliding, spinning or going out of control.

The reason you can’t see the ice is simply that it’s too thin. It’s not a different type of ice or a different material entirely. It’s just a very, very thin sheet of ice. Thicker sheets may form during a winter storm, making their presence obvious. Black ice usually forms when it’s warm enough during the day for the road to be coated in water. Then, at night, the temperature dips below freezing and that slightly damp road hardens into black ice. Many accidents happen early in the morning, while people commute to work on what they thought were safe roads.

What if you get hit?

Drivers have a responsibility to drive safely and with respect to current conditions. If someone fails to do so and hits you as a result, you may have a right to compensation for your costs, such as medical bills and lost wages.