Fire Department Offers DrivingTips for Fog/Night Conditions

When winter arrives in the Central Valley, so does the Tule fog. This type of fog in the San Joaquin Valley is considered a ground fog. It forms at night and in the early morning when the ground cools, lowering the air temperature near the ground to or below its initial dew point. In the valley, during the late fall and winter months, usually after the first significant rainfall, Tule fog will form and create one of the leading causes of weather-related traffic fatalities in the San Joaquin Valley.

Thick fog can reduce visibility and create extremely dangerous driving conditions. There may be patches of fog that can appear without warning, and are often times so dense that motorists are blinded by the reflection of their own headlights. During the fog season, motorists should expect and prepare for foggy conditions and adjust their driving accordingly.

Motorists are being urged to look for roadside message boards and listen to local radio stations for the up-to-date fog information. Fog conditions may change quickly, and all motorists should slow down and drive with extreme caution.

Tulare County Fire Department recommends the following safety tips:

- Drive with your headlights on LOW beam. High beams will reflect off the fog, creating a
   “white wall” effect.
- Reduce your driving speed.
- Use wipers and defroster to maximize your vision.
- Watch for CHP pace cars to guide you.
- If you must pull off the roadway, pull as far off the road as possible, turn off the vehicle lights.   

Driving at Night

According to the National Safety Council, more traffic deaths occur at night than during the daytime hours. The rate is three times greater. There are several factors that contribute to fatal traffic accidents.

One of the factors is an obvious reason, it’s darkness. A driver’s reaction to situations depends on vision. After sundown peripheral vision, depth perception, and color recognition are compromised.

Middle-aged and older drivers are more sensitive to glare than younger drivers since their eyes take longer to adjust to changing light levels.

Fatigue adds danger to driving at night. With fatigue drowsiness may occur which can cause a driver to have difficulty concentrating and may cause slower reaction times.

The leading factor in fatal traffic accidents is alcohol. More fatal traffic accidents take place on weekend nights than any other night of the week.

Tulare County Fire Department recommends the following safety tips:

-Check your headlights, tail lights, and signal lights to be sure they are operating properly.
-Keep your headlights on low beams when following another vehicle.
-To avoid a glare of an oncoming vehicle that has high beams on, avoid the glare by looking towards the right edge of the roadway.
-If you are too fatigued to drive, stop and get rest.
-Do not drink and drive, instead have a designated driver.