Even though Michigan’s winters can be almost unbelievably beautiful, they can also be dangerous for motorists. In fact, during the winter months, nearly half of all automobile accidents in the Wolverine State occur on icy, slushy or snow-packed roadways. Black ice is particularly hazardous for drivers in and around Sterling Heights. 

Despite its name, black ice is a thin coating of transparent ice that forms on highways, roads, bridges and other surfaces. It is often difficult for motorists to see, as it looks like wet pavement. Still, if a motorist does not drive reasonably on black ice, he or she may negligently cause an accident. Here are some conditions that may encourage black ice to form: 

Temperature 

Typically, for black ice to form, outside temperatures must be below freezing. The weather does not have to be absolutely frigid, though. On the contrary, if the mercury drops to just under 32 degrees, conditions may be optimal for black ice. 

Location 

While black ice can occur essentially anywhere cold, it forms quicker on elevated areas. Because bridges and overpasses allow for air to flow around all sides, they may freeze faster than other stretches of roadway. Therefore, even if the rest of your route seems fine, you may encounter black ice when driving on an elevated surface. 

Shade 

Sunlight melts ice both conductively and convectively. As such, sunny portions of roads may be ice-free while their shady counterparts continue to harbor black ice. Accordingly, you must exercise additional caution when driving in the shadows of buildings, bridges, trees or anything else. 

Even if you drive a vehicle that has four-wheel or all-wheel drive, you may lose control on black ice. Furthermore, a negligent driver who disregards icy conditions may crash into you, causing you to sustain a serious injury. Either way, to stay safe behind the wheel this winter season, you must understand where and how black ice tends to form.