Tips for driving in winter weather, black ice - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Tips for driving in winter weather, black ice

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HAMILTON COUNTY, TN (WRCB) -

Black ice can be extremely dangerous for drivers because it blends in with the road, making it hard to spot. 

"In most cases, you're on it before you know it," Captain Charles Lowery with the Hamilton County Sheriff's Department said, "A lot of it depends on the reflections from the street lights or the sun or whatever as to whether or not you can see it as you're approaching." 

Black ice forms when the temperature is 32 degrees or colder outside and since cars can't gain traction on ice, AAA says it's even more dangerous than snow. 

If you hit a patch of black ice, Lowery said the best thing you can do is not panic. 

"Ease up off the accelerator and just roll up off the ice until you're on solid pavement again and you'll feel it. When you're on solid pavement, just continue to drive," he added. 

The worst thing you can do: slam on your breaks. Lowery said that can cause your tires to lock up. 

Black ice is most likely to form in areas that tend to freeze faster like bridges and overpasses. 

But the dangers in winter weather aren't all outside on our roadways. One of them could be sitting in your backseat. 

You may feel like your child is strapped safely into a car seat when in reality the straps are dangerously loose. 

A video from an official crash test lab in Michigan shows a child-sized dummy wearing a winter coat that appeared to be securely strapped into a car seat come hurtling out in a simulated 30-MPH crash. 

"Once you get them to the car and you're ready to put them in the car seat, you need to take that coat off," Becky Campbell, certified child passenger safety technician with Safe Journey said. 

Campbell said parents can make sure they're child is strapped in safely by using the pinch test. 

"When the child is in the car seat, you want to make sure that you can't pinch any of the webbing up. If you can get a hold of this and pinch it up on the child, then it's too loose and you need to tighten it a little tighter," she added. 

Before hitting the road, Campbell advised to take the few extra seconds and remove that puffy coat. It would be what saves your child's life. 

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