MARQUETTE, Mich. (WJMN) – Rain, snow, and ice can sometimes cause some dangerous road conditions. It’s easy to be aware of safe driving techniques when you see the rain or snow falling, but sometimes ice can be present even if you can’t see it. This kind of invisible ice that forms on roads and sidewalks is called black ice.

“So, black ice is usually formed up here in the U.P. when you have snow melting during the day and then it refreezes overnight on the roadways or on the sidewalks,” said Joe Phillips, a meteorologist at the Marquette National Weather Service. “It’s also pretty common to have some black ice develop when you have freezing drizzle overnight. Essentially, the water will end up on the surface and because the ground or air temperature, or both are cold enough for the liquid to change over to ice, it’ll turn into ice, and it’ll develop that clear, nice, glossy look to it that’s see through.”

Black ice is virtually invisible, which is one reason that it is so dangerous. You may see it as a glossy, smooth part of the road. The transparent ice gets its name from the color of the road underneath it.

When there is black ice on the roads, it is difficult to avoid. Even snow tires and four wheel drive can lose traction on the frozen patches on the road.

Since black ice is so difficult to spot, you might be slipping and sliding across the road without a warning. If you find yourself in this situation, the most important thing to do is remain calm.

“Yeah, so black ice is dangerous, there’s no denying that,” said Phillips. “When there is a potential for black ice, the best course of action is to one, stay in tune with the potential. Always drive an appropriate speed making sure that there’s enough distance between you and any other cars around you, and then if you do happen to hit a patch of ice, the best course of action is just don’t panic. Just kind of go with it. As long as you’re driving safely, slowly and you’re not jerking the wheel or slamming on the brakes or the gas pedal, a lot of times you can drive right through it. You’ll slide a little bit, but the main course of action is just don’t freak out.”

Some things to remember when you find yourself on black ice are to remain calm, try and keep the steering wheel straight, take your foot off of the break, and allow your vehicle to pass over the ice.

Remember to check your local forecast before you head out! You can find our Local 3 Weather Livestream and your local forecast here.