1A Auto Video Library
Our how-to videos have helped repair over 100 million vehicles.

What is Black Ice on the Road

Created on: 2020-01-23

In this video, Sue explains how black ice forms, so that you can spot it while on the road!

Black ice. What is it? How's it formed, and why is it called black ice? Well, let's talk about that. So, you have tar, right? Asphalt is black. When ice forms on it, you can see it. It's got a little white film to it. You're like, "Ooh, that's ice." But black ice is formed by freezing temperature below on the ground. So, 32 Fahrenheit or zero Celsius, and it's formed on the tar, which is black. Add a little water to that, almost like the way a Zamboni does to an ice rink, makes it nice and glossy. So when you look at it, it almost reflects back and it looks like black ice. It doesn't have that white film to it. It's not transparent. So, that's why they call it black ice, people mistaking it for puddles quite often.

How is it formed? Well, like in an overpass, you don't have any insulation on that road. That bridge or overpass, the air circulates, so therefore, the temperature below here is the same as the air temperature above it. So, if you're 20 degrees outside, you're freezing and freezing, it's cold and cold. So, ice forms on that bridge, then in comes a little warm air, circulates in in the morning. And that forms a nice, clear liquid coat on top of that ice. That ice just starts to melt just enough that it looks like a puddle. But it's a secret puddle, it's the evil puddle on top of ice. And that is extra slippery.

Same with a bridge. The water from underneath on a bridge causes moisture in the air. There's no insulation on that tarmac, so it forms ice. Heat comes in, warms up just the top, black ice again. Moisture by lakes, ponds, the ocean, will do the same to the front road. Now you have parking lots, you have your driveway, you have your steps. This all happens from warm air swooping in when it's freezing temperatures.

So, how do you avoid black ice? Well, when you get up in the morning and you're on your way to work or before you go to bed, pay attention to the weather pattern that is coming your way. If it's 32 or below, it is freezing out there. But what is the warm front coming in? Is it warm air? When you step out, feel the air in your face. If it's ice-cold chill on your face and it's ice-cold below, it's more than likely not going to form a lot of black ice. But if you're like, "Ooh, it feels a little warm up here and it's freezing down there," that's when you're going to get the water barrier on top of that ice. Black ice will form.

How do you drive on black ice? Well, I mean, you have to be just careful like regular ice. But, it's kind of out of control. That's why I call it evil ice. There's no correct way to drive on it. Studded tires are the best defense, and low speeds. If you find yourself sliding, do not apply the brakes. Just try to steer into it. It is what it is. It's gonna happen, and it happens like that. So if there's something I didn't cover about black ice that you know about, please leave a comment down below. Let's help each other, educate each other about this evil thing called black ice. Don't forget to subscribe, click that bell, turn on all your notifications so you don't miss any of our videos.

How to Replace Vanity Mirror Light bulb 1997-2006 BMW 325Xi

Check out this video to learn how to replace the light bulb over the vanity mirrors. 1A Auto shows you how easy it is to DIY!

Share on:
Go To Top

Same Day Shipping

Need your part faster? Choose expedited shipping at checkout.

Guaranteed To Fit

Highest quality, direct fit replacement auto parts enforced to the strictest product standards.

USA Customer Support

Exceeding customers' expectations, our team of passionate auto enthusiasts are here to help.

Instructional Video Library

Thousands of how-to auto repair videos to guide you step-by-step through your repair.