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KYTC warns of 'black ice' after first snow and big drop in temps

Even though KYTC pretreated the roads and problem areas like bridges and other known slick spots, there's still a danger of black ice.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) will be working overnight to treat roadways after Thursday's snow. The snow caused very treacherous travel once it started sticking to the road and interstates.

Gov. Andy Beshear declared a state of emergency because of this snow and the dangerous driving conditions it poses.

KYTC also warned of 'black ice' because it is impossible to see at night. Even though KYTC pretreated the roads and problem areas like bridges and other known slick spots, it snowed so fast that it was quickly covered again. 

“It was a ‘perfect storm,’ literally,” Transportation Secretary Jim Gray said. “Heavy snowfall, combined with heavy, midday traffic and freezing pavement temperatures. The heavy traffic slowed many of our snowplows and salt trucks, and freezing pavement meant ice beneath the snow."

People were stuck on the roads for hours Dec. 6. Jefferson County Public Schools let their students out early and a few buses ran into travel problems.

Louisville Metro Public Works were also be working through the night.

Check traffic here

What is black ice?

Black ice is the clear glaze of ice on the roads you can't see. It forms as wet roads turn icy when temperatures drop and even a little dew can cause black ice. It can happen anywhere the conditions are right. But bridges and overpasses are especially prone. 

That's because that you've got cold air flowing below and above the pavement. Another danger-prone area--shaded spots on the road, mainly because they don't get sunlight.  

Here are some tips on what you should do if you hit black ice:

  • Steer straight. Any sudden turns and you can lose control.
  • Don't brake! It might be tempting to break, but that too can cause sliding.  
  • The best thing to do is, keep a slower speed and keep a good distance between the car in front of you.

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