When we saw this snake yesterday, I called it a "Black Racer". Turns out I was correct. It's a Northern Black Racer, which are found through out the US. It is often mistaken for a Black Rat Snake...however, the speed at which this thing got away is indicative of it's species. This one was quite large (30 to 36 inches). They can get up to five feet long.
I guess these snakes can be aggressive. They aren't poisonous, but will spit a foul smelling substance at you. They also will bite and will get nasty with you if you try to catch them--or if they are just having a bad day, and you happen to be nearby.
Frankly, I hate snakes. Dentists, Heights, Tunnels, Big Bridges, Air Travel and Snakes are my phobias. Since I don't have to encounter these everyday, I consider myself lucky.