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John Wheeler, WDAY, Published February 22 2012

Weather Talk: Slush can make roads as slippery as ice alone

Slush-covered roads, such as were present during Monday’s wet snowfall, can produce terrible travel conditions. Slush is a mixture of ice and water, and it can make a surface slippery in exactly the same way as ice alone.

Ice is slippery because the pressure of weight causes a thin layer of the ice to melt. When you slip on ice, you are really slipping on this layer of water on top of the ice. Ice skates glide so well because they concentrate the pressure of the skater’s weight into the very narrow space under the blade, where the ice melts.

When a vehicle moving down a road encounters slush, it can grab the wheels and affect the steering, and then guide the car out of control. If the road surface is cold enough, there can be enough ice in the slush to form a slippery layer between the wheels and the road.

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