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Black ice creates dangerous driving conditions

Black ice often forms in tunnels and other shaded areas, on overpasses and bridges, and near lakes and rivers.

A rolled newspaper
Contributed / Metro Newspaper Service
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BRAINERD — The Minnesota Department of Transportation warns motorists that current temperatures create conditions for black ice, an invisible hazard that catches drivers off-guard and causes crashes.

Black ice creates the appearance of a wet surface but is actually a thin, transparent layer of ice on roads and bridges, MnDOT reported in a news release. Black ice forms when melting snow refreezes or when rain, drizzle, mist or fog freezes. It is most common at night and early morning when it is dark and temperatures are lowest.

Black ice often forms in tunnels and other shaded areas, on overpasses and bridges, and near lakes and rivers. The hazard can also form when snow temporarily melts from auto exhaust emissions or tire heat and from moisture vapors given off by industries located close to the highway.

Motorists should remember to:

  • Slow down on bridges, overpasses and tunnels and on all roads in the early morning when the air temperature rises faster than the pavement temperature.

  • Avoid applying brakes on ice as it may cause a vehicle to skid.

  • Do not use cruise control during winter driving conditions.

  • Use a safe speed for winter driving conditions, regardless of the posted speed limit.

  • Keep a safe stopping distance from the vehicle in front of them.

  • Keep both hands on the steering wheel, eyes on the road and stay alert.

For additional tips on safe winter driving, go to www.mndot.gov/workzone/winter.html.

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For real-time traffic and travel information in Minnesota, visit www.511mn.org or get the free smartphone app.

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