Referred by locals as “June gloom,” San Francisco mornings around this time usually feel damp and chilly as fog envelops the city. But as much as everyone loves a poetic atmosphere, fog can be fatal.
Annually, the Federal Highway Administration records about 38,700 fog-related vehicular accidents, accounting for an estimated 16,300 injuries and over 600 fatalities. So, what are the risk factors to watch out for as you drive in foggy conditions?
Driving through the fog
Fog is essentially a low-lying cloud that touches the ground. It limits visibility and distorts a driver’s perception in several ways resulting in auto collisions.
- Speed variance: Fog scatters when light hits it, lowering the contrast of a driver’s surroundings and interfering with depth perception. Drivers might think they are driving too slow when they’re actually beyond the speed limit.
- Distance miscalculation: The thicker the fog, the harder it is to judge how far another vehicle, pedestrian or object is. When there isn’t enough braking distance, drivers may not have the necessary reflex to react on time.
- Faulty high beams: Bright lights create a glare that only restricts your vision instead of enhancing it. California law requires motor vehicles to have at least two headlamps during inclement weather or darkness. Inclement weather, including fog, rain, snow or mist, is any condition that requires windshield wipers and prevents a driver from clear road discernment.
You can avoid lethal consequences if you exercise extreme caution while driving through treacherous roads. Defensive driving – reducing your speed, following painted road lines or pulling over if necessary – can make the roads safer.
Protect your vision
Fog and driving do not mix. Fog may disrupt your driving judgment causing deadly consequences. Even if you’re careful, another negligent driver may fail to follow preventive measures. Discuss your legal options to ensure that liable parties and their insurance companies give you fair compensation for your personal injury claim.