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People Often Fail to Drive Cautiously in Fog

Casper, Meadows, Schwartz & Cook

Despite its reputation for abundant sunshine, California can also experience heavy fog. On roadways, fog presents a hazard to motorists, and studies show that drivers often fail to take appropriate precautions.

One study of driver behavior in foggy conditions discovered that many drivers try to keep the vehicle ahead of them within eyesight to serve as a reference point. This behavior, however, could result in a driver following too closely to avoid a crash with the lead vehicle. People also have trouble determining distance and speed in the fog. Participants in another study estimated that vehicles ahead of them in the fog were 60 percent farther away than was actually the case.

Research that looked at how drivers adjusted their speed in fog revealed that people tend to go too fast for conditions. Findings revealed that drivers did not slow down until they could no longer see markings defining the road lanes. Because road markings are usually reflective, they remain somewhat visible even in fog, which produced overconfidence among drivers. Even when they did slow down, the speed reduction was insufficient to avoid hazards that could pop up suddenly.

Foggy highways have the potential to produce multi-car crashes. A person injured in such a crash could face financial hardships from medical expenses and lost income. Those who find themselves in this type of a situation may want to discuss their cases with a personal injury attorney. Although some accidents in inclement weather may be unavoidable, the attorney can review the accident investigation report and other evidence in order to determine that a driver's failure to take these conditions into account constituted negligence, and as such the motorist should be held financially responsible for the injured victim's losses.