As black ice threat looms, Connecticut DOT warning drivers to be alert

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HARTFORD -- Officials from the Connecticut Department of Transportation are warning drivers to be on alert for the potential of black ice that may develop on roads as temperatures continue to drop.

"We're going to keep crews on, not just through rush hour but we're going to keep them on all the way through the night because there's definitely the possibility that things could get a little bit ugly," said Kevin Nursick of Connecticut DOT.

AAA offers the following tips for driving safely during icy conditions:

AAA Tips for Driving and Braking on Black Ice

Tips for Driving on Black Ice

Use extreme caution in certain areas. Black ice typically forms first in shaded areas of the roadway and on bridges and overpasses which freeze first and melt last. Although the road leading up to a bridge may be fine, the bridge itself could be a sheet of ice.

  • Slow down. Accelerate, turn and brake gradually. Adjust your speed to the road conditions and leave yourself ample room to stop. Allow at least three times more space than usual between you and the car in front of you.
  • Watch the traffic ahead. Slow down immediately at the sight of brake lights, fishtailing cars, sideways skids or emergency flashers ahead.
  • Never use cruise control on slippery roads. Patches of ice can cause unexpected wheel spin that could lead to a loss of vehicle control.
  • Avoid unnecessarily changing lanes. This increases the chances of hitting a patch of ice between lanes that could cause loss of vehicle control.
  • Carry a winter weather kit in your car. Contents should include an ice scraper, blanket, flashlight with extra batteries, jumper cables, bag of kitty litter, reflective triangles/flares, shovel, cloth/paper towels and a fully charged cellphone.

Tips for Braking on Black Ice

  • Minimize the need to brake on ice. If you’re approaching a stop sign, traffic light or other area where ice often forms, brake early on clear pavement to reduce speed. Car control is much more difficult when braking on ice-covered roadways.
  • Control the skid. In the event of a skid, ease off the accelerator and steer in the direction you want the front of the car to go.
  • If your car has an anti-lock braking system (ABS): Do not remove your foot from the brake during a skid. When you apply the brakes hard enough to make the wheels lock momentarily, you will typically feel the brake pedal vibrate and pulsate back against your foot. This is normal and the system is working as designed. Do not release pressure on the pedal or attempt to “pump” the brakes.

If your car does not have an anti-lock braking system: Keep the heel of your foot on the floor and use the ball of your foot to modulate the pressure applied to the brake pedal so that the brakes are at the “threshold” of lockup but still rotating.