Black Ice Tips for Commercial or Owner Operator Truck Drivers in North Carolina

The transition between fall and winter is a hazardous time for commercial or owner operator truck drivers in North Carolina. Your winter driving skills are a bit rusty and the roads have no treatment yet. As the temperatures fall below freezing, a hidden danger can present itself when you least expect it: black ice.

Black ice is a film of transparent frozen water that may be invisible or appear like wet pavement. When you accidentally hit it while turning, steering, accelerating, or braking, your rig will skid. While encountering sections of it, your only option is to proceed at a crawling pace until you are either past it or can safely get your truck off the road. Waiting at a restaurant or motel for conditions to improve is preferable to risking an accident.

As providers of commercial or owner operator truck insurance in North Carolina, we recommend using these additional tips for coping with black ice:

Anticipate the Likely Places and Times for Black Ice

Black ice is difficult to spot. However it can occur in shaded areas that haven’t been warmed by sunlight. Bridges will also freeze up with black ice well before road surfaces do as the temperature approaches freezing. The reason is that the ground beneath the road surface retains heat longer than bridges.

If it’s raining where you currently are but your route will take you through higher elevations such as a mountain pass, expect the rain to change over to sleet, ice, or snow. This is practically a certainty if the temperature at your current location is just above freezing. The last place you want to be with your commercial or owner operator truck is on an icy downhill section of a mountain road.

In addition to anticipating where black ice occurs, you should also anticipate when it will occur. If the roads are wet or have puddles during the day and the temperatures are forecasted to drop below freezing at night, expect the surface water to freeze into ice.

Know the Warning Signs of Black Ice

Another important skill to have as a commercial or owner operator truck driver is recognizing black ice warning signs. If the temperature is below freezing and you see a patch of wet road ahead, you are probably looking at a shiny section of black ice, since water on untreated road surfaces freezes below 32 degrees Fahrenheit.

When the tires of cars ahead of you are kicking up water mist, then the road hasn’t iced up…yet. However, once you stop seeing the water mist, either the road has dried or the water has frozen. Assume it’s frozen. Check your mirror arms and the corners of your windshield for signs of ice buildup. If you see it there, it may also be on the road.

If you have questions about commercial or owner operator truck insurance in North Carolina, feel free to contact us at J.E.B. Insurance Services, LLC.