BLACK ICE: Open letter to Minnesota drivers - KMSP-TV

BLACK ICE: Open letter to Minnesota drivers

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We're all pretty much sick of the subzero temperatures and we're all sick of the stupidly slow commutes.

Tuesday was a mess again, and for no outwardly-visible reason...which is exactly the reason.

Black ice is formed from car exhaust and from the snow tracked onto the freeways from our own tires. But why then was Tuesday worse than, say, Monday?

CRASH STATS: Troopers were called to 350 crashes (30 with injuries, 1 fatal) and 170 spinouts statewide Monday afternoon through Tuesday morning.

VIDEO: Black ice rollover on I-94 near Alexandria

VINE: Rob Olson's' skyway frost graffiti

MnDOT noticed the humidity levels climbing throughout the night, hitting the 70s and 80s by commute time. Any moisture in the air puts a layer of morning frost on the ground, so it was already slick before cars added to it.

Think of it this way: The same thing that gives you problems with your tires on the road is the same thing that causes problems with your windows -- it doesn't take much ice and you're in trouble.

MnDOT has been treating roads since Friday, and for the most part they're clear. But that only means they look deceptively safe. It also means the sand MnDOT is dropping for traction has nothing to stick to, leaving traffic and wind to blow it all away.

That leaves you (and me) – the Minnesota driver. What are we going to do about it?

- Pay attention. Don't talk, text, browse or reach for your phone

- Slow down. Especially on icy bridges, overpasses and tunnels

- Don't use cruise control

- Keep a safe stopping distance in front of you

- Keep both hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road

- Avoid accelerating or braking on the ice

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