Hollywood relies on fog heavily in many movies and TV shows to set the mood of a scene. The horror thriller The Mist's entire plot is based around fog! The Mist is about a small town that is invaded by a mysterious fog which releases vicious creatures, that a group of townsfolk have to fight, to save their lives and their town. While ordinary, fog that doesn’t come out of a machine like a film set doesn’t give people nightmares for weeks like Stephen King’s story, it does come with its own horrors. Driving in fog, for example, can be a very scary experience because a lot of people don't know how to drive in fog.
The Glossary of Meteorology from the American Meteorological Society informs that fog is a collection of water droplets suspended in the atmosphere in the vicinity of the earth's surface that affects visibility. Visibility distance is reduced by fog and heavy precipitation. Low visibility conditions cause increased speed variance, which increases car crash risk. Each year, over 38,700 car crashes occur in fog. Over 600 people are killed and more than 16,300 people are injured in these fog car accidents annually, according to the Federal Highway Weather Administration.
According to the Detroit Free Press, early morning on January 10, 2018 there was a car crash on northbound I-275 at 8 Mile Rd. and another car accident on eastbound I-94 at Conner Ave, due to fog. These accidents are more recent, but like any good horror movie villain, fog has created other, more serious, accidents in the past and can still cause more car accidents in the future if drivers aren't careful. In April of 2015, a 60 car pile up was reported on a highway which left 2 people dead and over 2 dozen injured. The series of car accidents were caused by a dense fog that made it really hard for drivers to see where they were driving. The Detroit Free Press notes that drivers should be especially cautious of travelling through fog when driving on bridges, overpasses, and ramps.
The National Highway Safety Transportation Administration (NHTSA) reported that distracted driving during foggy weather is a main factor with car accidents. Fog makes it hard for people to see. Being distracted with something only adds to the chance of getting into an accident. The NHTSA reported that speeding while driving in foggy weather also contribute to the number of deaths each year from car accidents. 4% of car crashes in 2017 were caused by fog.
Driving in fog can be difficult and requires more attention from the driver to safely drive. Any type of distractions that draw eyes away from the road in already decreased visibility, increase the risk of getting into a car crash. Here are some tips from the National Weather Service on how to drive safely in fog, if driving is unavoidable.
How To Drive In Fog
- Slow down and allow extra time to reach your destination.
- Make your vehicle visible to others both ahead of you and behind you by using your low-beam headlights since this means your taillights will also be on. Use fog lights if you have them.
- Never use your high-beam lights. Using high beam lights causes glare, making it more difficult for you to see what’s ahead of you on the road.
- Leave plenty of distance between you and the vehicle in front of you to account for sudden stops or changes in the traffic pattern.
- To ensure you are staying in the proper lane, follow the lines on the road with your eyes.
- In extremely dense fog where visibility is near zero, the best course of action is to first turn on your hazard lights, then simply pull into a safe location such as a parking lot of a local business and stop.
- If there is no parking lot or driveway to pull into, pull your vehicle off to the side of the road as far as possible. Once you come to a stop, turn off all lights except your hazard flashing lights, set the emergency brake, and take your foot off of the brake pedal to be sure the tail lights are not illuminated so that other drivers don't mistakenly run into you.
Of course, it's always best to avoid driving in foggy weather, but the above tips may be able to help drivers safely navigate foggy conditions and avoid car crashes.
There is always a greater risk of car accidents occurring when mother nature throws a wrench at a driver’s plan to take the car out. Fog is one factor that increases the chances of car accidents. If you have been in a car accident and want a free consultation with a car accident attorney, call The Michigan Law Firm, PC at 844.4MI.FIRM.