Do you remember the polar vortex? The two most infamous words of last year’s winter are making headlines again, as a major fall storm combined with cold arctic air are combining to bring snow to our region earlier than expected. Because of this roads became treacherous and not all drivers heeded warnings to slow down and avoid black ice.

Other than “polar vortex,” black ice are the two words that are the most dangerous to central Pennsylvania drivers. Simply put, ice is unforgiving. It does not matter if you have four wheel drive or the finest winter tires on your vehicle, as some black ice accidents can be caused by other cars sliding into you. 

For the uninitiated, black ice can be caused by ice on the road that is defrosted by sunlight or exhaust from cars. As temperatures go down, the moisture can re-freeze, forming patches of ice that are almost invisible to a driver. Once a car hits a patch of ice, a car can slide helplessly into a ditch; or as we noted earlier, into another vehicle.

This is why when driving conditions deteriorate, a driver’s duty to use reasonable care while behind the wheel becomes that much more important. If a driver fails to use such care by driving faster than what the conditions may allow and causes an accident after hitting a patch of black ice, chances are that an offending driver will be held liable for the injuries and property damage that ensue.

The preceding is not legal advice.