Maybe you have seen the road signs that warn you about icy bridges, or maybe you’ve heard people talk about them. So, what’s the deal with icy bridges?
On cold, wet days, bridges freeze faster than roads. This is partly due to the fact that bridges are hollow underneath, causing them to lose heat from all sides. They have no way to trap heat. Roads only lose heat from the surface, because the core of the Earth heats them up from the inside out.
Many bridges are made of steel or concrete, which do not retain heat very well. Roads, which are usually made of asphalt, prevent heat loss.
The most dangerous part about icy bridges is the fact that they catch drivers by surprise. Drivers generally do not slow down when approaching bridges, so they end up speeding over the ice which can be disastrous.
Black ice refers to ice that covers a bridge or road. It is not actually black, but due to its transparency it appears black. Black ice generally forms from freezing rain, but can also form from snowfall and wind.
Although bridges may freeze and cause danger in Winter, there are ways to safely cross over them:
- Be aware of the weather and temperature. Any time there is precipitation and temperatures below freezing, ice is able to form on bridges. If ice has formed on your windshield, it is very likely that it has formed on bridges as well.
- Slow down when approaching the bridge, you will be less likely to lose control.
- Avoid accelerating, braking, or changing lanes as you pass over the bridge. Vehicle movements like this can cause your car to slide or spin or out of control.
- If you do have an accident on a bridge, don’t panic. As your vehicle slides, turn into the slide to regain control. Be aware of other vehicles around you, as there is a chance they may slide on the ice as well.
- Never exit your vehicle on an icy bridge, this puts you at risk for being hit by other cars.
Icy bridges are dangerous and can catch drivers off guard. Make sure to exercise these safety trips to make your winter drives safer and more pleasant!
For more information on how to drive in icy condition watch the video below:
Georgia Gintowt, Author