What Omaha Drivers Need To Know About Black Ice
Icy roads are a common hazard for drivers braving cold Omaha winters. Black ice is an especially dangerous condition during the winter months. By learning more about this hazard, drivers can reduce their likelihood of being injured in an accident on black ice.
When accidents do occur, it is important to seek legal advice. An Omaha car accident attorney can help injury victims identify responsible parties and develop theories of liability in order to assert their legal right to compensation.
What is Black Ice?
Black ice occurs when moisture freezes on the roadway. Dark, slick patches of ice become almost invisible because they blend in with asphalt. This makes it difficult to avoid black ice. However, by understanding the conditions in which black ice is formed, drivers can be prepared for the times in which they are likely to encounter it.
The New York Times spoke with the New York Department of Transportation about this hazard. The DOT reported that black ice forms when the surface temperature of a roadway is at or below 32 degrees Fahrenheit. It can also form when the surface temperature is the same as the dew point. While this can happen at any time, it is especially common at night when there is no heat from the sun to melt ice buildup. Black ice is also more common on rural or suburban roads than in heavily-traveled urban areas. Bridges, viaducts, and overpasses are especially conducive to the formation of black ice, as they are exposed from both the top and bottom. This allows them to cool faster and stay cold longer.
Drivers can also look for other warning signs. If the road is glistening and the tires of the vehicle ahead are spraying water, then it is likely that ice is melting. If, on the other hand, the road is wet but there is no spray from other vehicles, this could be a sign that the water is frozen to the road. A vehicle thermometer can also be an indicator of icy conditions. Once the outdoor temperature is at or near 34 degrees Fahrenheit, drivers should be particularly cautious in looking for ice.
Omaha Drivers Have a Legal Duty to Use Reasonable Care in Inclement Weather
Like other states, Nebraska has enacted traffic statutes which requires drivers to account for dangerous weather conditions on the road. Section 60-6,185 of the Nebraska Revised Statutes prohibits drivers from traveling faster than is reasonable and prudent under the existing roadway conditions. This creates a legal obligation for drivers to slow down when snow or ice is present on the roadway. Drivers who fail to do so may be subject to a traffic citation. Speeding may also be used as evidence that the driver was negligent, and therefore legally responsible for causing an accident. A finding of negligence creates a legal obligation for the negligent driver to compensate victims for their injuries and losses which were sustained in the accident.
Consult with an Omaha car accident attorney as soon as possible after any auto accident. Whether your collision was the result of weather conditions or other factors, it is important to obtain legal advice in order to protect your rights.