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Bracing for black ice in North Carolina

The arctic air system that is punishing much of the Midwest and Pacific Northwest is expected to make its way towards the Carolinas. According to a number of weather reports, temperatures will drop from the 60’s to the 40’s over the weekend. Some areas may see the mercury drop below freezing.

While the dire temperatures may not come to fruition this time, it is only a matter of time till our region experiences severe weather, including snow, sleet and freezing rain. When this occurs drivers across North Carolina should be wary of black ice. 

Black ice is the name given to patches of ice that form on roadways that are essentially invisible to drivers. Once a car hits a patch of black ice, the chances of a driver losing control of a vehicle and crashing increase dramatically.  In fact, black ice was to blame in a massive pile up in Massachusetts on Sunday, where more than 35 people were injured.

Arguably the best way to avoid the consequences of hitting ice patches is to reduce one’s speed. Slowing down reduces the chances a car will spin out of control. However, there are a number of drivers (particularly drivers of SUVs) who ignore road conditions and drive as if there are no apparent hazards. Nevertheless, North Carolina drivers have a duty to use reasonable care when driving in inclement conditions. Failing to do so (and causing an accident) could subject an offending driver to civil liability.

In the meantime, we hope that the cold snap spares our region for at least another weekend.

Source: CharlotteObserver.com, “Will the ice, bitter arctic cold reach here?” Steve Lyttle, December 5, 2013

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