Black Ice: Slip & Fall Risks

What is Black Ice?

Black ice can be a serious accident risk. Black ice often forms overnight when wet asphalt, after rain or melted snow refreezes into a thin clear sheet of ice. What distinguishes black ice from regular ice is that it is not cloudy or frosty.  It is so thin and clear that the black asphalt shows through, causing the ice to appear black.  Black ice is slick and difficult for drivers or pedestrians to spot, making it more dangerous.  When looking across the pavement, black ice may appear shinier and darker, like a wet patch of pavement.  It is also common for the water and wet pavement to mix with black ice, making it even more difficult for pedestrians and drivers to know where it is extra slick.  When pedestrians or drivers are caught off-guard, it creates significant risk and liability.

Safety Risk

Parking lot owners need to be particularly aware of this safety hazard.  Even plowed lots can become a liability due to black ice.  Lot owners and businesses should pay special attention to colder, shaded, or raised areas of pavement when applying ice melt products or posting hazard signs.

Don’t let your guard down just because the outside temperature is slightly above 32 degrees.  Black ice can still form with ambient temperatures above 32 degrees if the pavement is 32 degrees or colder, especially in shaded areas.  Black ice is even possible without rain or snowfall.  Dew or heavy fog can create black ice if the conditions are right.

An Ounce of Prevention

We cannot stress enough the importance of maintaining your lots.  Liability falls on the property owner if the upkeep and safety of your lot are not adhered to. By having a reputable plow company that is proactive in staying ahead of the storm and efficiently and effectively clearing your lots and sidewalks, you decrease the odds for possible accidents. Melted ice and snow can quickly refreeze as winter temperatures are constantly fluctuating between the freezing mark. Because of this, snow maintenance should continue throughout a storm, and after.

It is important to ensure that you are using the best ice melt option for asphalt throughout winter for safer surfaces and to protect the structural integrity of your asphalt pavement. Furthermore, repairing and preparing your parking lot for the colder months plays a large role in just how much the winter elements will affect your asphalt.


Now is the time to repair and prepare your asphalt parking lot for snow and ice and the snow removal, ice melt products, and freeze-thaw cycle that come with it. Contact EastCoat Pavement today for your free consultation, and make sure your asphalt is properly prepared!

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