Experts Have Tips On Preventing Fog-Related Accidents

DPS is still investigating last week's massive pile-up on foggy I-10 near Beaumont. Troopers say close to 100 vehicles were involved in 14 separate crashes in the eastbound lanes. Two people were killed and dozens other hurt. But there are things drivers can do to protect themselves as fog becomes more of a hazard during the winter months.

Paul Carlson does research on highway visibility for the Texas Transportation Institute. He says if you're planning to travel on a foggy morning, the best thing to do is wait until the fog lifts.

But if you have to get on the highway, put down the phone and take it slow.

"Travel with your low-beam headlights on, not the high-beams because of the backscatter that can happen through the fog that reduces visibility even more."


Driving Instructor Zundrea Baldwin, from http://www.defensivedriving.com, teaches the steps to take to stay safe and manage the risks of driving in fog.

And as you creep along through the soupy fog, Carlson says you should keep your eye on the edge of the highway.

"That's typically the most visible guide you can have in foggy conditions, which is the right white line as you drive.  Be ready for everything."

As for highway technology that could prevent fog pileups, Carlson says you can put illuminated devices in the roadway that emit light toward the driver. They're similar to what's used at the light rail crossings in downtown Houston.

But considering the many miles of highways in Texas, installing those devices would be a huge expense.

"As those things evolve, there may be a point in the future where the price point is such that they make sense to install in areas that, for instance, are prone to fog because it's in a low section near a river or near a lake."

Investigators believe the wrecks from last weekend were caused by people driving too fast for the weather conditions. DPS is now considering charges against some of the drivers. 

Bio photo of Gail Delaughter

Gail Delaughter

Transportation Reporter

Gail Delaughter joined KUHF in October 2008 as Saturday morning news anchor and host. A native of New Orleans and a graduate of Southeastern Louisiana University, Gail has extensive experience in Texas and Louisiana as a radio news reporter and morning show anchor and co-host...