It's invisible. But it's out there and could send you spinning into the ditch during these weather conditions. Black ice is the culprit in numerous spinouts and crashes on Highway 14 and Highway 169 in southern Minnesota Tuesday, according to a news release from the Minnesota Department of Transportation.

MnDOT reports that black ice can give the appearance of a wet surface, but is actually a thin layer of ice that forms when snow briefly melts from tire heat or vehicle exhaust then refreezes. It forms on overpasses and bridges and near lakes and rivers as well.

With the very cold temperatures and windy conditions through Thursday, the formation of black ice will persist.

The news release indicates, "Black ice is an invisible hazard that catches drivers off-guard and frequently causes crashes." In general, MnDOT says slower speeds and a safe travel distance can help. Officials also stress that drivers should have both hands on the wheel and avoid distractions.

In other weather-related articles, review the lowest (and highest) temperature extremes in Minnesota and, in an effort to have a little fun, check out seven good things about 30-below zero.

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