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Fog most dangerous road condition
It happens every January.
Warm air drops down onto the valley floor to collide with cool, damp air, and presto — you've got fog.
"Fog makes for some of the worst driving conditions," said California Highway Patrol public affairs Officer John Waggoner. "Fog can significantly impair visibility and render headlights ineffective."
Statistically, fog is the most dangerous driving hazard in existence, the CHP reports.
Fog is to blame for numerous North State collisions, including the Jan. 7 hit-and-run fatality on Interstate 5 in Colusa County.
A Corning man was a "person of interest" in the collision that killed a 49-year-old Shingle Springs man and seriously insured his wife and daughter.
"We never caught the guy," Waggoner said. "He's still out there."
Waggoner said the CHP believed Angel A. Hernandez, 28, of Corning, was driving too fast in the fog when he "rear ended" the SUV driven by Jeffrey Patton.
Hernandez' Ford F-150 pick-up careened off the road and overturned into a power pole. It is believed the driver, possibly Hernandez, fled the scene on foot, leaving behind a cell phone.
One year later, the investigation remains unsolved.
Waggoner said driving too fast is the leading cause of fog-related collisions.
"When you come across a slower moving vehicle, you don't have the time to react," Waggoner said. "You usually hit other vehicles from the rear."
In 2001, an Oroville man was killed and 11 other people were injured in a 30-vehicle pile-up in Butte County, under similar conditions.
Excessive speed of motorists and low to zero visibility caused by fog was to blame for the collisions, the CHP said.
When driving in fog, you should reduce your speed and turn on your headlights.
It is important to make sure that you can be seen and that your sure your high beams aren't turned on by accident, Waggoner said. High beams direct light up into the fog, making it difficult for you to see. Low beams direct light down onto the road and help other drivers to see you.
It is also important to keep an eye on your speedometer and maintain a slow, constant speed, Waggoner said.
Studies show that some drivers acclimate themselves to foggy conditions and unconsciously increase their speed over time, according to the CHP.
"It is important this time of year to plan ahead for fog," Waggoner said. "Allow more time to get from point A to point B. Don't rush it. Being on time isn't worth losing your life or risking the lives of others."
Night time and early morning fog is expected throughout the week, with Saturday being the first possibility for showers, the CHP said.
Contact Susan Meeker at 458-2121 or firstname.lastname@example.org.