A safe trip on black ice


Photo-credit: LianeM – Fotolia.com

Whether concerning the road, air or rail traffic: When it comes to the point of being really slippery on the streets and rails, the whole traffic can suddenly be disrupted. Car drivers facing black ice have to cope with a big struggle to retain control of their cars. What is an uncomplicated drive under normal weather conditions can become a sliding all over the place on the new ice rink.

If roads have been frozen for a long time and it starts to rain, black ice is almost inevitable. The tricky thing: As you can deduce from the name, the falling rain freezes in a matter of seconds when it reaches the ground. Furthermore, a high ratio of humidity and fog can also contribute to a fast freezing of the streets. Not to be confused with black ice is freezing rain. This rain does not freeze on the ground but already falls from the sky as ice crystals.

If you absolutely can not do without taking the car when the road is excessively slippery, you should keep some general tips in mind to reach your destination.

The Automobil-Club-Verkehr Deutschland, a German automobile association, advises car drivers to take extra caution while driving on black ice.  Especially at critical sections of the road, car drivers need to lower their speed and avoid steering as much as they can. Additionally, you need to estimate longer braking distances. A great advantage is to drive in a higher gear. Taking the second gear for instance shall avoid wheelspinning during hill starts and facilitate the take off.

In order to warn car drivers early enough about slippery streets, Lufft equips ice warning systems in Germany and other countries with weather and road sensors. In Italy and Austria for example, Lufft’s measuring instruments are used at the Brennerpass, the mountain border between the Austrian federal state Tirol and the Italian province Bozen, for more than 40 measuring systems. The weather station WS600-UMB provides information about air temperature, relative humidity or kind of precipitation. In combination with the smart road sensors IRS3Pro-UMB and ARS31Pro-UMB, which provide data about the road surface, its temperature and constitution, it serves as a reliable early warning system to register and predict danger of black ice.

Beside stationary measurement stations Lufft also offers with the mobile road sensor MARWIS the latest technology for road weather information systems, which allows you to complement the stationary monitoring network with dynamic and mobile data.


According to meteorologists, we can expect a very cold winter in Middle and Eastern Europe. As every winter season we will try our best to realise reliable early warning systems to register and predict the danger of black ice.

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