By Rene Agredano
Winter is a challenging time for RVers to be on the road. Even if you don’t experience a snowstorm, sudden freezing temperatures can create one of the most hazardous driving conditions for RVers: black ice.
Black ice can happen during any time of day but is most prevalent when the air temperatures approach freezing. As moisture accumulates on a highway if the road surface freezes before the moisture does, you’re in for a slippery ride.
You can recognize black ice by watching for patches of road that appear dry but are darker than the rest of the pavement. You’ll also see it in low-lying areas, in shaded areas, and on bridges, which usually freeze before the rest of the road. If you’re driving at night you know you’re on black ice if your headlights don’t reflect off the ground.
Should you encounter black ice, try not to steer or brake. Keep your rig pointed in a straight line while making gentle, non-aggressive steering corrections. If you must brake, don’t apply too much braking power or you will slide. For RVs with anti-lock braking systems (ABS), gently touch the brakes and keep your foot on the pedal to keep the ABS activated and stay on course. If you’re towing, your trailer brakes should be turned down low enough so that the wheels are still rotating as you come to a stop. Finally, don’t exit the highway since an off-ramp can create accelerating speed while descending the ramp.
The best way to avoid black ice is to only drive during good weather in daylight hours. But if you must drive during hazardous conditions, remember these black ice tips to stay safe and arrive at your destination in one piece.
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