Black ice a culprit of Chicago auto accident on I-355 over I-55

It's the middle of winter and last year's mild conditions seen in many parts of the northern U.S. like Chicago, unfortunately, don't seem to be in this year's winter weather forecast. As a result, there has been no shortage of motor vehicle accidents due to bad weather. In fact, black ice has been the cause of some recent vehicle accidents.

What is black ice and why is it dangerous to Chicago drivers?

Black ice is essentially clear, invisible ice that forms on roadways and lacks the bubbly, white characteristic typical of most types of ice. It's referenced as "black" ice because the ice appears so transparent that one can see right through it onto the black asphalt.

This type of thin, transparent ice is extremely hazardous because drivers aren't aware of it until they find their cars slipping and sliding on the road. Many often think the road they are driving on is just wet so they don't reduce their speeds or take caution as they normally would with other types of more conspicuous ice conditions.

Chicago I-355 and I-55 black ice instances

Black ice appears on all types of roadways all across the country, including the Chicago area tollways, and is a common culprit for car accidents during the winter months.

Only a few days ago, various media outlets reported that there were over 40 auto accidents in the Chicago area alone caused by black ice that formed as a result of the freezing rain. A chain reaction involving a semi-trailer and six other cars collided in a chain reaction in Bolingbrook. In another incident, a pickup truck hit a wall after sliding on the slippery ice on I-355 over I-55.

Bridges, in particular, typically form black ice first. They are more susceptible to the formation because bridges are exposed to the open air and cool faster than other types of roads. As a result, black ice forms on bridges first.

Taking caution

It's important for drivers to take caution in the winter months. Many underestimate the power of ice and how vulnerable vehicles can be when ice is present-even for big heavy trucks or cars with 4-wheel-drive capability.

Fortunately, legal recourse is available to those injured in auto accidents as a result of negligent drivers' failure to take caution during hazardous weather. If you or a loved one has been injured due to an at-fault driver, discussing these options with a personal injury attorney is advised.