AS our community finds itself in the middle of another cold winter, drivers are urged to be extra vigilant of black ice on our region’s roads.
Black ice occurs in freezing temperatures when heavy dew, rain or pooled water is present over the road. It can be extremely hazardous for drivers as it is invisible when it forms. Ice can form on any road, particularly during severe frosts. “The cold weather we’re known for in the Central Highlands means black ice is a serious problem, one which can have terrible consequences if drivers don’t use the roads carefully,” says VicRoads Regional Director Ewen Nevett.
VicRoads has ice warning systems on the Midland Highway between Blampied and Daylesford and the Western Freeway between Wallace and Gordon. “The systems use sensors to detect black ice before it forms and then automatically switches on the amber flashing signs as well as updating our VicTraffic app and website with a warning message,” Mr Nevett says. “Our Traffic Management Centre can also activate these signs remotely if the public tells us about black ice forming. The signs, VicTraffic app and website advise drivers to slow to 40km/h, which is important because the conditions are slippery and may cause you to run off the road.” There are eight ice warning signs with flashing amber lights and an advisory speed limit on the Midland Highway and four on the Western Freeway. Static advisory signs are also in place across the arterial road network, including sections of the Midland Highway and Western Freeway.
As well as paying attention to these ice warning systems, VicRoads has these safety tips for driving on our region’s roads this winter: Before you get in the car, download the VicTraffic app or visit traffic.vicroads. vic.gov.au to check if any black ice warnings are in effect; Delay your trip if you can, to avoid driving in icy conditions. If you do have to drive, allow plenty of time and drive carefully; Leave your headlights on not only do they help you see, they help others see you; Make sure your headlights work; Allow plenty of space between you and the vehicle in front of you sometimes in poor conditions drivers can brake suddenly and in icy conditions you will take longer to come to a stop; Slow down to a safe and appropriate speed and be patient with other road users.