Spring is in the air. After a winter like the one we’ve been suffering through this year, it feels like it can’t come soon enough. However, as one recent news story makes clear, spring can bring its own unique brand of weather-related havoc. The early spring roller coaster of snow and sleet followed by warm weather followed by more snow or sleet means that accumulated snow melts and re-freezes, and additional precipitation can make that virgin ice as slippery as greased Teflon.
Melting snow and ice also leads to the risk of an accident like the one detailed by WMUR at the following link: http://www.wmur.com/news/27065785/detail.html. In that accident, a trucking company had allowed a layer of snow on a trailer to melt and re-freeze, creating a coating of heavy ice on top of the trailer. A chuck of ice broke free and flew into the windshield of a car following on the highway, seriously injuring the driver. While this accident may seem like a freak occurrence, it is not at all uncommon to see drivers who do no more than clear a view slit in their windshields and then drive away. Smaller chunks of ice and snow that fly from these vehicles may not be enough to punch through a windshield like the one in the story link, but they can be enough to create a serious vision obstruction or distraction to following drivers. New Hampshire law requires you to clean the snow from your vehicle before driving it. Failing to do so can put you at serious risk of liability if snow or ice blowing off your vehicle causes an accident.
Melting snow during the day, followed by freezing temps at night is also the recipe for black ice. Black ice, often with a thin layer of moisture on top, is the slipperiest type of surface you are likely to drive or walk on. It is most likely to form on bridges, and at the edges of the road where fewer cars’ tires come into contact with the road. You should use extra caution when driving immediately after the temperature has dropped from above freezing to a few degrees below freezing, and take special care when crossing bridges or coming near to the edges of the pavement under those conditions.
Just because spring is almost here does not mean that the weather cannot ruin your day with a winter weather-style hazard. Until the temps stay well above freezing, keep your snow tires on, your vehicles clean of snow and ice, and be extra careful driving at night.