On the morning of January 31, at least 40 vehicles were involved in multiple crashes on Highway 198 in Kings County. The cause was dense fog, with visibility reported by the National Weather Service (NWS) at about 50 feet.
As a result of this incident along Highway 198, 12 people sustained minor to moderate injuries. Considering the conditions, the aftermath could have been much worse. For example, another incident occurred seven years ago on Highway 99, south of Fresno. This crash involved 108 vehicles, resulting in 41 injuries and two deaths.
When extreme fog occurs, it is wisest to avoid driving altogether. If you must drive, however, the NWS offers the following fog safety tips:
- Slow down and allow extra time to reach your destination.
- Use fog lights if you have them, otherwise use your low-beam headlights to make your vehicle visible to others.
- Never use your high-beam headlights. They cause a glare, making it more difficult to see what is on the road ahead.
- Leave plenty of room between you and the vehicle ahead of you to allow for sudden braking or other abrupt changes in their driving.
- Follow the lines on the road with your eyes to ensure you stay in the proper lane.
- In the case of extreme fog, when visibility is near zero:
- Turn on your hazard lights.
- Move to a safe location, such as a parking lot. If there is nowhere to pull into, move as far to the side of the road as possible.
- Once you come to a stop, turn off all lights except your hazards, set the emergency brake and take your foot off the brake pedal. This will help drivers to see you are no longer moving and help prevent a rear-end collision.
If you have an accident while driving in fog and are injured, consider consulting with an attorney to ensure your legal rights are protected.