(Mankato, MN) – The Minnesota Department of Transportation says black ice is to blame for several mishaps on area roads.

Spinouts or crashes have already occurred on Highways 14 and 169, according to a release sent from the District 7 MnDOT headquarters.

MnDOT says the combination of extremely low air temperatures and windy conditions are causing patches of black ice that are catching drivers off-guard.  Black ice creates the appearance of a wet surface but is actually a thin, clear layer of ice on roads and bridges.  It often forms in shaded areas, on overpasses and bridges, and near lakes and rivers.  It also forms when snow melts from auto exhaust emissions or tire heat, and from moisture vapors given off by industrial locations near the highways.

The agency reminds motorists to slow down on bridges and on all roads in the early morning hours when the air temperatures rise faster than the pavement temperatures.  They also recommend using safe speeds for conditions, regardless of the posted speed limit, and to keep a safe distance from the vehicles ahead.

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