Black ice to be a problem on New Jersey roads

Let's face it. Between Superstorm Sandy last week's blizzard and today's snow forecast, New Jersey has had a rough winter. Road conditions are not the best, which can make travelling treacherous for cars, semi-trucks and buses alike.

Many of our readers recall how the recent storm blanketed the Long Island Expressway with so much snow that cars were essentially immobilized, and the thought of more snow will keep most people inside. However, the expected change in weather patterns creates a more dangerous threat: black ice.

The term refers to unseen (and unforgiving) sheets of ice that form on roadways. It forms after snow on roadways melts (either through warm exhaust from passing cars or through a rise in daytime temperatures), and then re-freezes after temperatures fall in the evening. On streets that have black ice, hardly any form of traction (i.e. 4-wheel drive) is effective. Spinouts may occur and drivers may not be able to navigate normal turns. As a result, violent crashes are likely to occur.

It is estimated that black ice is the culprit in more highway accidents than actual snow.

Today, forecasters predict that rain over our region will change to snow, which creates the possibility for black ice to form. The National Weather Service warned of such conditions for Passaic, Bergen, Union and Essex counties.

Because of this danger, it is imperative that drivers slow down and maintain speeds that are appropriate for the conditions. After all, New Jersey drivers have a legal duty to do so; meaning that they could face civil liability for injuries and property damage caused in an accident that occurs due to one's negligence.

Source: NJ.com, Parts of N.J. could get up to 3 inches of snow, February 13, 2013

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