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Fog and Farming Roads

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January 09, 2017
Edward Smith


Fog and Farming Roads: A Recipe for Disaster

I’m Ed Smith, a Stockton farming accident lawyer, and I, like many Californians, am well aware of the dense fog that settles into our region from November to March. Known as tule fog, this dense fog is hazardous for motorists, especially along narrow, poorly designed-farm roads.

What is Tule Fog?

Tule fog is caused by the relatively high humidity in the Central Valley after the first significant rainfall. This moisture is then cooled by the relatively low temperatures and long nights during the winter months. The mountains bounding the Central Valley on either side keep this moisture within the valley.

Tule fog is exceptionally dense, with visibility often less than an eighth of a mile. Because of this poor visibility, tule fog is considered the primary cause of weather-related accidents in California.

Watch Youtube Video – How Does Tule Fog Develop? 

Tule Fog in the Delta

Tule fog is incredibly dense and hazardous in rural areas and in the delta, where the lack of asphalt and fewer roadways keep temperatures lower, preventing the fog from burning off. Unfortunately, these areas also happen to be where visibility is most important.

Rural Roads and Delta Highways

Many rural roads throughout southern Sacramento County and San Joaquin County are narrow, poorly maintained, and have few road signs with little street lighting. These problems are exacerbated by commuters who use these hazardous roads as shortcuts daily. For example, Highway 160 from Sacramento to Antioch is traveled by more than a thousand people daily.

The fog makes these many hazards harder to see and respond to promptly.

Accidents Due to Fog and Farming Roads

Tule fog causes accidents even on well-maintained and well-traveled roads. In an accident on 31 December, 40 cars crashed into each other near the intersection of Highway 99 and Interstate 5 in Bakersfield. Two people died while five were seriously injured in the accident attributed to tule fog.

Even missing a turn due to dense fog in the delta can be fatal because of the levy roads and their steep embankments. Single and multi-car accidents along rural roads in the delta often result in cars entering a river or striking an orchard or vineyard.

The risk of accidents on farming roads is further increased by the presence of big rigs and farming equipment. As the many farming roads are exceedingly narrow, these trucks and equipment often fill the lane. Even a slight error on the part of either driver can easily lead to an accident, especially when the drivers cannot see each other due to fog. This happened on 6 December in Fresno, California, when a Honda Civic crashed into a flatbed truck carrying oranges along a farm road.

Injuries from Fog-Related Car Accidents

Injuries in fog-related car accidents are often the same as in ordinary car wrecks. Drivers frequently sustain multiple injuries, including head injuries, back and spinal cord injuries, broken legs, abdominal trauma, and chest trauma.

How to Drive in Dense Fog

The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) recommends decreasing speed, turning on fog lights and low-beam headlights, and lowering windows to listen to other traffic. Caltrans explicitly tells drivers not to stop in the traffic lane in dense fog, which creates an additional hazard.

Stockton Farming Accident & Personal Injury Lawyers

I am Ed Smith, a Stockton farming accident lawyer. If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident caused by fog, please call me at (209) 227-1931 or (800) 404-5400 for free and friendly advice.

I have practiced personal injury and wrongful death law exclusively for 34 years.

Look up my reviews on Yelp, Avvo (a lawyer rating service), and Google.

I am a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, a group of top-ranking US trial lawyers with multiple million-dollar case settlements and verdicts.

Please view my Past Verdicts and Settlements.

Image Attribution: By siegertmarc, via Wikimedia Commons

Youtube Video Attribution: Courtesy of KCRA News:kw