Black ice can pose a serious risk for Minnesota drivers. What do you need to know about black ice car accidents?
When rain or snow is actively falling, drivers realize they should be extra cautious in the inclement weather. However, not all adverse conditions of the road are immediately visible. Black ice is one of the hidden dangers you could face while driving in Minnesota.
What is Black Ice?
Contrary to its name, black ice is actually clear. Black ice forms on top of roads in a thin, practically invisible layer. It is called “black” because it blends in with the dark pavement beneath it. Black ice forms when moisture in the air quickly settles and freezes. This often happens when the temperature reaches the freezing point of 32℉.
Black ice can also form in sub-zero temperatures. When it’s extremely cold, the exhaust emitted from your car’s tailpipe can freeze into a thin layer of ice on the road.
How do you Stay Safe on Winter Roads?
On an annual basis, over 116,800 people become injured in car accidents that happen on snowy or icy pavement. When the weather conditions are likely to encourage black ice, driving slowly is one way to reduce your chances of injury. Your vehicle is less likely to skid at lower speeds. If you ever need to pursue a personal injury case involving black ice, your adherence to the speed limit will also help to show you’re not at fault. Likewise, an experienced personal injury attorney can help to demonstrate that the accident was actually due to another driver’s mistakes.
Make sure your tires are fit
Several states allow studded tires to improve traction in harsh weather. However, Minnesota requires the traction surface of tires to be covered in rubber. Consequently, residents cannot use traditional studded tires in most cases. As a Minnesota driver, you can make sure your tire tread depth meets the minimum 1/16 inch requirement for safety.
Take an alternate route
Black ice is more likely to remain in areas where there isn’t much sun exposure to melt it, such as under an overpass or bridge. The already hard to spot black ice is even less visible in places where the sun doesn’t shine. Avoid these shaded areas whenever possible.
Keep a safe distance from the vehicle ahead of you
You’ll need extra space to regain control if you come into contact with black ice.
Avoid using cruise control
Cruise control allows your car to continue accelerating when your tires lose traction. With your foot off the pedal, you may not realize what’s happening until it’s too late.
Does Auto Insurance Cover Black Ice Accidents?
Minnesotans who are injured in black ice car accidents can turn to their personal injury protection policy to cover medical expenses and lost wages. However, the direct and indirect costs of your injuries may exceed the limits of your policy. You may need to seek compensation from the other driver involved. A personal injury attorney who is on your side will communicate with the opposing party’s insurance company on your behalf. That will protect you from admitting to fault that isn’t yours and settling for less than you deserve.
Who’s Liable for a Black Ice Accident?
Since winter accidents are so common, defendants often try to chalk them up to eventualities. In reality, they are often avoidable when the proper caution is taken.
How a driver is managing a vehicle before and after he or she loses control of it is taken into consideration when liability is being determined. For instance, tailgating or traveling too fast can make a driver negligent in a black ice car accident.
Evidence including accident reports, witness statements, and skid mark patterns can demonstrate fault. An accident attorney who is representing you will be instrumental in evaluating that evidence.
What do I do if I’m Injured in a Black Ice Accident?
After a black ice accident, call 911 as soon as possible. The dispatcher will ensure that emergency responders are sent to the scene if necessary. Assess the extent of the damage and injuries for you and the others involved. To prevent further injuries, move away from continuing traffic.
Once you have taken care of the injured and spoken with the police officers, make sure you take notes and pictures of the accident so that you can remember what happened and the order of events. You will need this information when lodging a claim with your insurance company. Also, if you are sued you will have evidence to defend yourself. Make sure the photos clearly show the ice covering on the road and the hazardous road conditions.
Keep documents from your initial care as well as ongoing medical treatment. Documentation will help to show the extent of your injuries as well as financial costs associated with them.
Should I Contact a Black Ice Auto Accident Attorney?
If you’ve been injured in a car accident due to another party, you should contact an attorney to achieve the best possible outcome. The attorneys of Sand Law have successfully recovered compensation for numerous car accident clients, including those injured in accidents involving black ice. For a free consultation, contact us online or by phone at 651-291-7263.