Drivers Warned of Black Ice

By: Michael Gorsegner
By: Michael Gorsegner

December 6, 2005

A day of sunshine and above freezing temperatures brought a significant amount of melting to our area, but with those temperatures expected to drop to the mid-twenties, a re-freeze could be in store.

Although the roadway is dry and no ice is has formed, each day that the sun melts the surrounding snow, drivers must be aware of slick conditions and black ice.

"This evening, as the temperature drops, it's forecasted to be below freezing, so we're likely to have freezing of this water that's still on the road," said Lou Hatter with the Virginia Department of Transportation.

The first significant snow of the year brought dicy conditions in many areas. Crews worked tirelessly through the night to clear the roads but a potential for black ice exists.

"Even with salt and sand applied, there is going to be the possibility for having some places like that especially on the secondary roads," Hatter said.

As the sun shines and temperatures rise during the day, the snow melts. That melt is met by freezing conditions at night and a subsequent freeze causing unsafe road conditions.

"Early morning hours, the temperatures take a little dip and often black ice pops up," said Albemarle County Police Officers Sean Horn.

Albemarle County Police responded to several incidents throughout the day involving cars sliding on ice. One such stretch of Westbound Rolling Road caused three separate accidents. No one was seriously hurt, but VDOT says safety should come first.

"The roads are going to freeze back up in some places and they just need to be careful and be cautious and recognize that everything is not completely clear yet," Hatter said.

VDOT and Charlottesville City officials say they will keep crews on throughout the evening laying down the salt and abrasives to help with the ice problem. They say the best thing drivers can do is be cautious while driving.

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