SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) — The Utah Department of Public Safety issued a reminder on social media about the dangers of black ice. Here’s what drivers, even experienced ones, should know.

Black ice is a “potentially deadly driving hazard” as it is extremely slippery and transparent, taking on the color of the surface beneath it, according to the department’s article.

It is caused by freezing rain or the re-freezing of melted ice and snow and is a greater issue at night and in the morning. DPS also says it is more likely to be found under or on bridges and overpasses.

As 17% of all car accidents occur during winter conditions, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said it is worth taking a moment to review safety suggestions, even for the most experienced of drivers.

Road looks wet but is actually covered in a sheet of ice.
A graphic listing three tips to help keep drivers safe. (Courtesy of Utah Department of Safety and the National Weather Service)

How to drive safely in icy conditions

DPS’s information states that being aware of how and where black ice forms, its similar appearance to water and where crashes have happened recently can help drivers make it home safely.

As crashes often happen in multiples, officials say to be aware of the areas where others have slid out while driving. In addition, slowing down can give the driver extra time to notice wet and icy patches on the road and avoid them.

If a vehicle hits black ice, the driver should remove their foot from the gas, tap the brake pedal lightly and turn the wheel in the direction of the skid, according to tips from the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base’s Safety Office.

The Safety Office’s tips also suggest leaving space between vehicles regardless of your own confidence level as other drivers may be less experienced driving in icy weather. The article continued to warn against overconfidence saying, “don’t think you’re invincible just because you drive a truck or a big SUV.” According to the air force base article, there is no 4-wheel advantage when driving over black ice.

“Whether it’s snow, sleet or ice, winter weather can cause extremely dangerous road conditions,” the NHTSA said in a release. “Preparing yourself – and your vehicle – for winter weather is key,”