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Fog, Ice Make For Dangerous Commutes In Washington

Updated on: 2/15/2019

Over the past few days, there have been several crashes, rollovers and spinouts on the roadways in Western Washington, most a product of the weather and road conditions. 

Fog and ice have met commutes on their way to work, the hardest-hit areas being along Interstate 5 near Ferndale in Whatcom County and Interstate 90 near North Bend. Washington State Patrol said the cause of several of the crashes were drivers going too fast for the slick conditions.

How To Drive In Fog

Fog is a thick cloud of tiny water droplets suspended in the atmosphere at or near the earth's surface that obscures or restricts visibility. It’s basically just a cloud at ground level.

Driving in fog is extremely dangerous if people do not adapt. Here are several tips for how to drive in foggy conditions:

1. Slow down: This is a simple one, but you should always drive according to conditions. Fog can come out of nowhere and quickly obscure visibility. If you following the speed limit in foggy conditions and a police officer sees you, you can get ticketed for speeding if the officer believes you are driving too fast for conditions.

2. Watch out for pedestrians and bicyclists: These two groups of people are already at-risk due to their proximity to vehicles. Adding in fog only makes the problem worse. Here’s a common scenario: a driver crosses the white line (on the right side) because they’re worried about oncoming traffic. This maneuver puts pedestrians and bicyclists in harm’s way.

3. Use low beam headlights: One of the worst things you can do is to turn on your high beams when driving in fog. This only reflects the additional light and refracts it, making it brighter. While on this topic, if your vehicle is equipped with fog lights, make sure you turn them off when oncoming traffic approaches. These lights can be distracting to oncoming drivers.

4. Focus on the white line: The white line on the right side of the road is also referred to as the “fog line.” Instead of looking at the yellow center line, focus instead on the white line. You won’t be temporarily blinded by oncoming head lights and won’t accidentally get too close to the center line. However, be careful of pedestrians and bicyclists.

How To Drive On Ice

It’s best to never drive when there’s ice on the roads, but unfortunately it’s not possible for most drivers to know that. People need to get to work and school, and ice is often unpredictable. If you find yourself caught on icy roads, follow these tips:

  • Make sure your tires have enough tread before you drive
  • Drive in lower gears to keep traction with the road
  • Watch out for “black ice” or “glare ice.” This may just look like a puddle.
  • Don’t use cruise control.
  • Slow down and don’t follow other cars too closely. 
  • If skidding, brake gently. If your wheels lock, ease off the brake.
  • Bridges and less frequently traveled roads tend to freeze first. Use caution in these areas.

Contact An Attorney After An Accident

If you or a loved one has been injured in an auto accident that was a result of driving in fog or driving on ice, it is possible that you may be entitled to recover losses incurred in the crash, depending on the circumstances of the accident. You may be able to receive compensation for medical bills, property damage, lost wages, pain and suffering and other damages related to the crash.

Contact the experienced Washington State attorneys at Davis Law Group, P.S., today. For a free case evaluation, call (206) 727-4000, use the chat feature below or fill out the form on this page.

Chris Davis
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Chris Davis is the founder of Davis Law Group, P.S. in Seattle, WA.
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