What Are the Warning Signs for Road Icing?

Icy roads are a fact of Winter driving. Here are some warning signs that you can use to predict impending road icing conditions. What to look for:

  • Temperatures near or below freezing (32°F or 0°C)
    Seems like a no-brainer, but awareness of current and upcoming weather conditions can be your best defense against road icing. Most people will check the weather for the near future and mostly just for precipitation. It is imperative that you also pay close attention to the temperature, especially the road/ground temperature for the areas where you will be traveling. Temperature readings below 36°F should alert you to the possibility of areas of road icing. Any type of precipitation falling (snow, sleet or rain) when temperatures are close to or below freezing is the greatest warning sign you can get for imminent road icing conditions.

Special Warning: Falling snow or sleet can cause temperatures to drop rapidly, so even temperatures as high as 40°F can quickly fall to below freezing in an area of heavy snow or sleet.

  • Falling precipitation
    During the winter, any type of precipitation can result in road icing, including rain! Again, combined with quickly falling temperatures, any precipitation can be very dangerous! And it doesn't take much of any precipitation type to cover roadways.
  • Ice or snow sticking to your car
    Ice buildup on your windshield wipers, antenna or other parts of your car can be a sign that ice could already be forming on roads and bridges. Most people have heard, and have seen the signs, that ice forms more quickly on overpasses/ bridges than on roadways. If there is ice already on your car, these areas could have it, also. This isn't necessarily a precursor warning, as many times, the roads could already be icy by the time you notice buildup on your car.
  • Ice or snow sticking to elevated objects
    Ice and snow will usually (but not always) stick to elevated objects before it begins affecting bridges and roadways. Mainly because of the size of the object being smaller without ground warm, you'll see ice forming on parked cars, highway signs, guardrails, trees and shrubs, or grassy surfaces.

With a little precaution taken, you can bypass accidents related to icy roads by paying attention to your surroundings. A factor in many of the serious and fatal crashes is overconfidence in one's abilities and/or equipment (traction control, antilock brakes, stability control, winter tires). Some feel that they have sufficient experience in winter driving, and can therefore continue normally (at or above the speed limit). Knowing the warning signs can make the difference between arriving safely or not.

If you or someone who is close to you has been injured or killed in a winter car accident in Nebraska or Western Iowa, call Rich Hitz for a free consultation to learn about how to avoid medical bills and receive fair compensation for the injuries you or your loved ones have sustained at (402) 952-4179.

Resource: "Road Icing: Warning Signs" article on www.icyroadsafety.com

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