There have been more than 30 auto accidents this morning alone, RÚV reports, due to icy conditions that apparently caught many motorists by surprise.
As a result, police and other first responders had their hands full, and traffic was snarled during morning rush hour. Amongst those kept busy was Árekstur, a private company offering driver assistance to those who get into accidents.
Kristján Örn Kristjánsson, the CEO of this company, told reporters that even the use of spiked tires–a popular custom for Reykjavík area drivers–were useless on these roads and made little difference.
“These weren’t cars that were ill prepared,” he told reporters. “They were all perfect examples of what to do where tire preparation is concerned but it changed nothing if people used spiked tires or not. The tires had no chance in the conditions that prevailed this morning.”
The main culprit, rather, was so-called black ice; i.e., thin veneers of ice on the roads that are difficult to see and blend in to the asphalt, giving drivers a false sense of assurance that they do not need to reduce their speed. Salting the roads is a good preventative measure against this, but more importantly, driving especially carefully is the safer bet when temperatures dip to the frost mark.
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