Most of us have had to drive in the fog at some point in our life. It is a creepy experience to say the least. Most people, however, underestimate the dangers of driving in foggy conditions. Fog is formed when the difference between the temperature and the dew point is less than 4 degrees Fahrenheit. In simple terms, fog is created when clouds touch the ground. The dangers of driving in fog were tragically illustrated on January 9, 2008 when a 70 vehicle pile-up occurred on Florida’s Interstate 4. Three people were killed and dozens injured under what appeared to be a blanket of fog stretching for miles down the interstate. Bystanders said it looked like a war zone inside the fog. So why is fog so dangerous and what can we do to lower the chances of an accident in foggy conditions?
One obvious danger of driving in the fog is lowered visibility. We simply can’t see as far ahead as we normally can. Fog also contributes to accidents because it affects perceptual judgments of speed and distance. Fog lowers the contrast between an object’s brightness and the background. This, in turn, makes objects appear less distinct and fainter. We don’t just loose the ability to see farther in the distance, but we also loose the ability to clearly identify what is in our field of vision. We also judge speed poorly in fog. Part of the reason for that is that we typically use objects in our peripheral vision to determine how fast we are going (ie: telephone poles, other cars, road signs), but in the fog, we have no reference points.
The best thing we can do to limit the chance of being involved in an accident while driving in foggy conditions is to pull off the road to a safe place if possible. Statistically, driving in the fog can be more dangerous than any other weather related road condition so pull over if you can into a rest stop or parking lot. If that is impossible, or creates a safety hazard itself, then slow down. Imagine that you were driving in the snow and adjust your speed accordingly. The next thing you can do is make sure you keep plenty of distance between you and the car in front of you – assuming you can see the car! Remember that reaction time may be slower in the fog so allow yourself extra time to stop if it becomes necessary. Turn on your low beams only. High beams direct light up into the fog making in more difficult for you to see. Low beams direct the light down, onto the road, making it easier for you to see and be seen. Stay to the right of the road when possible to avoid potential head-on collision from oncoming traffic.
If you have been involved in a fog related accident, seek the advice of a California accident attorney immediately. Fog related accidents can produce some of the most serious injuries of all vehicle accidents and you may be able to recover damages for any injuries you suffered as a result of the accident. If you would like an experienced California attorney to evaluate your case, contact the law offices of Ledger & Associates at 1-800-300-0001 or visit us at www.ledgerlaw.com.