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Incoming arctic blast a concern for drivers

The NFL playoff game between the Green Bay Packers and San Francisco 49ers was an epic battle; not just because the teams were evenly matched elite teams, but because they both had to battle the elements. The temperature at kick off was two degrees. With the windchill, it felt like 12 below zero.

While the players valiantly defied the elements, the arctic air mass is now in the Washington D.C. metro area. Snow and ice are not expected in the forecast, which can make for challenging (if not impossible) driving conditions. But we noted in past posts how dangerous black ice could be, and it bears revisiting given the frigid temperatures this week. 

Black ice is what comes about after snow melts on roads and then refreezes as temperatures fall below freezing. 

Black ice is what comes about after snow or ice melts on roads and then refreezes as temperatures fall below freezing. It is dangerous because it is virtually invisible to drivers and can cause drivers to lose control of their vehicles with the slightest slippage. Indeed, snow plow trucks can employ chemicals to break down black ice, but depending on how cold it is, the mixture may not be effective. Because of this, drivers are implored to use extra caution while driving. Staying indoors may also be an option.

Not only is this good sense, there are legal implications as well. Drivers are tasked to use reasonable care while behind the wheel, which includes slowing down when driving conditions deteriorate. If a driver fails to use such care, and an accident occurs as a result, the offending driver could be held liable to those injured in the crash. 


WashingtonPost.com, “Frigid air from Midwest engulfs Washington region; wind chill temps are well below zero,”  Justin Jouvenal, Michael E. Ruane and Katherine Shaver, January 7, 2014


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