Keep Your Holiday Shoppers Safe: Locate And Prevent Black Ice On Your Parking Lot

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Keep Your Holiday Shoppers Safe: Locate And Prevent Black Ice On Your Parking Lot

19 November 2014
 Categories: Construction & Contractors, Articles

Before the shopping season hits full swing, you need to make sure that your store's property is safe and free of potential threats like black ice on your parking lot. Black ice doesn't just occur on the open roads. It can also form on your parking lot's asphalt pavement, which endangers every vehicle that drives over it. But you can locate and prevent black ice on your parking lot with these helpful tips below.

What to Know About Black Ice: How It Forms on Your Parking Lot's Pavement

Black ice develops when rain, sleet or melted snow freezes on the surfaces of asphalt pavement. The black ice forms on your asphalt in three ways:

  1. When outdoor temperatures fall below 0° Celsius or 32° Fahrenheit and rain, sleet or soft snow freezes on the surfaces of your parking lot upon contact
  2. When snow melts on the surfaces of your parking lot during the daylight hours and freezes during the night or early morning
  3. When heat from the exhaust pipes of vehicles entering your parking lot melts the snow and it later turns into ice  

Once black ice forms, it can create dangerous driving conditions for cars, trucks and SUVs entering your lot – even if the vehicles travel at speeds of 5 mph or below. The tires of these vehicles may not possess the traction or gripping power to drive over the slippery ice without sliding or skidding out of control.

As a result, some vehicles may lose their abilities to slow down when turning corners, pull into parking spaces safely, or avoid other vehicles and pedestrians.

What to Look For: Pavement That Looks Dull or Feels Slippery

Although black ice is difficult to spot or locate when there's very little light present in your parking lot, you may be able to see it when artificial light or sunlight shines on your lot's surfaces. Here's why.

The ice that forms over your asphalt pavement isn't black at all. In fact, the ice that forms on the pavement lacks any pigments or colors to make it appear black. The ice is actually clear and may lack air bubbles.

In addition, the black color comes from the dark asphalt that lies beneath the ice. You can't see the ice formation very easily in the early mornings or evenings when there's very little light available outdoors. The black ice simply blends in with the black asphalt pavement. However, you can look for exceptionally dull areas on your parking lot when the light from the sun, parking lot or your storefront illuminates it. You may want to put on a pair of snow boots and walk through the parking lot to find areas that:

  • Look dull: Black ice won't reflect light like the rest of the pavement – normal ice, snow and water can reflect light so that you can see it better
  • Appear bare or out of place: Areas that have black ice will look out of place compared to the rest of the pavement, which may be have snow over it
  • Feel slippery: The pavement may feel slippery or icy beneath your boots when you walk over it 

If you can't locate any of the above issues, you may want to go ahead and treat your asphalt pavement to protect your shoppers.

How to Remove and Prevent Black Ice: Melt the Ice with Salt

Before your store opens for business, you may want to have someone run a snowplow over the parking lot. The plow removes the previous night's snow and reveals the pavement below it. It may also crack and pick up any ice that covers your asphalt.

After plowing the lot, you may wish to coat it with salt. Salt contains various chemicals inside it that absorb moisture and melt ice. Once you coat the lot with salt, the sun's heat may melt any potential black ice hazards.

If you need additional help with finding or treating black ice in your parking lot, contact your asphalt technicians for an appointment. Getting rid of any potential black ice from your store's property can protect your holiday shoppers and make the season safer for them.

For more information about pavement care and maintenance, you can check out