• Beware of black ice: 'Just because roads look clear doesn't mean they are'

    By: Mark Barber


    CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Monday was a clear day with blue skies, but drivers in Charlotte were still getting tangled up in dangerous wrecks.

    Officials said black ice caused multiple crashes on the northbound ramp from Interstate 77 to Interstate 85 in north Charlotte.

    Trooper Ray Pierce said the crashes happened when water runoff from the nearby construction site froze onto the ramp.

    "As soon as I hit it, it just turned sideways, so I had zero time to correct it before I hit the guardrail,” said driver Chris Shifflett.

    [ALSO READ: WINTER WEATHER OUTLOOK: Channel 9 meteorologists prepare you for the season]

    Shifflett said he was on the ramp during the morning rush and that's when he saw the first signs of trouble.

    He said he passed a crash on the right side and switched lanes to give the wreck more room.

    Shifflett said when he tried to get back into his lane a few moments later, he slid on another patch of black ice.

    "I didn't see it, it didn't even cross my mind really that there was black ice on the road this morning," Shifflett said.

    His busted truck needed to be towed, but he's still pretty lucky.

    [ALSO READ: Slushy roads to turn to ice as temperatures plunge overnight]

    A few yards away, the driver of a Jeep spun out on a patch of ice and landed on top of the concrete barrier.

    Pierce said, "Just because the roads look clear doesn't mean they are."

    "We haven't had snow or a sleet. People need to realize when these temperatures are dropping below freezing in the evening, the ground is still saturated from all the rain we've had in the past month and that water has to go somewhere," Pierce explained.

    Pierce said NCDOT crews brought in sand to help drivers gain more traction.

    [ALSO READ: NCDOT: Preparations for winter storm have been months in the making]

    He also said crews were planning to put messages on electronic billboards to warn drivers about the black ice.

    Nearly 30,000 drivers use the same ramp every day and some think something like this would never happen to them, so Shifflett is warning drivers to slow down before it's too late. 

    "I didn't think it was going to happen to me either," he said.

    The potential of a refreeze is a danger because it's going to be even colder on Tuesday morning.

    Temperatures are expected to be below freezing nearly every day for the next week and a half during the morning rush, so troopers are warning drivers to be careful.

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