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Chicago Personal Injury Blog

Why Do Bridges Become Icy Before Roads?

by Jared Staver in Auto Accidents

Although it’s important to be cautious and alert any time you’re driving, it’s even more crucial during the winter months when you are driving over a bridge or another elevated roadway. Bridges pose an especially dangerous threat because they become icy before roads since they are surrounded by cold air from both above and below.

If you are injured in a winter car accident on a bridge or flat roadway, you should reach out to our experienced attorneys today at Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. at (312) 236-2900 for a free consultation.

Bridges vs. Flat Roads

As the temperature decreases, the surfaces of both bridges and roads will begin to cool. However, bridges cool faster and form ice quicker than roads for several reasons.

Since cold air surrounds a bridge’s surface from above and below, the bridge loses heat from both sides. Bridges do not have a way to trap heat, so they quickly become icy when the temperature becomes freezing. Roads differ from bridges because they only lose surface heat. The ground below them helps trap heat in and keep roads from getting icy unless the temperature falls several degrees below freezing.

Bridges also freeze before roads because they are usually comprised of concrete and steel, which both conduct heat well. Any heat that a bridge conducts will be quickly transferred to its surface and lost to the surrounding air. Roads, on the other hand, are made of asphalt which doesn’t conduct heat well at all. Heat that is trapped within and below a road will usually stay there a long period of time and thus, increase the amount of time it takes for a road to freeze.

Winter Driving Safety Tips

In addition to being extra attentive while driving on bridges in freezing temperatures, there are a number of other tips that can help keep you and other drivers safe while driving in the winter. These tips include:

  • Reduce Your Speed: Keep in mind that speed limits are calculated for normal driving conditions so if it’s snowy and icy outside, you should reduce your speed.
  • Allow More Space Between Cars: On icy and snowy roads, you should keep a greater distance between your car and the car ahead of you. If you have to suddenly slow down, it is important to have extra space to allow for possible skidding on ice.
  • Clear Off Frost, Snow, and Ice: Even if you’re in a hurry, you must clear your car of frost, snow, and ice prior to getting behind the wheel. Doing so will increase your visibility and reduce your chances of getting into an accident.
  • Refrain From Using Cruise Control: If the roads are slippery or the weather is poor, refrain from using cruise control so you can have full control of your car and thus, can react quicker to any road hazards.
  • Pack a Winter Emergency Kit: There should always be winter emergency kit filled with an ice scraper, flashlight, blanket, water, and snacks in your car.

Injured in a Winter Car Accident? Call Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C.

If you are injured in a winter car accident that was the result of someone else’s negligence, you should consult our lawyers at (312) 236-2900. We may be able to recover compensation on your behalf in a personal injury lawsuit. Schedule your free initial consultation with Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. today.