There’s no question that winter driving in Virginia can get treacherous. Snowstorms are definitely an issue, but black ice may be worse.
While some road hazards are obvious, black ice is often an invisible threat. Drivers usually can’t spot it before they hit a patch of it, and that can easily send their car or truck spinning out of control.
What is black ice, and what causes it to form?
“Black ice” is just a term used to describe a virtually invisible sheet of ice that forms on an otherwise clear road. It looks black only because it’s thin enough that you can see the asphalt underneath.
Black ice forms after there’s been a short thaw in the weather. The rise in temperature thaws some of the snow piled up beside the road, and the water freezes again once the temperature drops. It often forms in the evening, and the only clue can be a slight glaze that catches the light from headlights or streetlights.
Who is at fault when black ice leads to a collision?
Black ice seems like such an unavoidable danger that it often surprises (and upsets) drivers to find out that they can still be held liable for a crash if they lose control of their vehicle.
No matter how inclement the weather, drivers have a legal responsibility to drive safely and retain control over their vehicles. Black ice may be an explanation for what happened, but it doesn’t erase a driver’s obligation to others on the road.
If you’ve been injured by a driver who slid on black ice, make sure that you fully understand your right to compensation for your losses. You shouldn’t have to pay for someone else’s mistakes.