Archive for Thursday, January 21, 2010

Foggy days in Lansing

January 21, 2010

Through the years fog usually hits around New Years Eve and the first part of January, and this year is no exception.

Years ago, I drove in fog many times as I had to leave for work about 3 in the morning. I worked in the Fairfax District and it would get worse the closer I got to the Missouri or Kansas River. I learned early on to keep my window down so I could hear sounds of things I could not see. Having had a personal experience at Fourth and Minnesota on the way to work, I was creeping along very slowly, could not see the hood of my car, I heard voices and quickly stopped. Luckily I found that I missed hitting a car that had stopped by only two feet. Now fog lights are on a lot of vehicles but I had fog lights installed on my car back then.

There are many different types of fog, depending on what part of the country you are in. Advection fog is when the rain falls during the day, then ends and the cooler evening air is combined with soaked ground. Precipitation fog usually forms beneath precipitation clouds. Upslope fog is fog that form all along the uphill slope of a hill. Valley fog is a thick fog that usually forms during the winter in valleys of mountains. Radiation fog is made at night or early morning when the dew turns to fog. Steam fog is formed when cool air moves over warm water.

Some driving tips in fog: Always drive with lights on low beam. High beams will only reflect back off the fog and actually impair visibility. Reduce your speed and watch your speedometer. Fog creates a visual illusion of slow motion when you may actually be speeding. Listen for traffic you cannot see, open your window a little to hear better. Use wipers and defrosters as necessary for maximum visibility. Use the right edge of the road or painted road markings as a guide. Be patient; do not pass lines of traffic. Do not stop on a freeway or heavily traveled roads. Should your vehicle become disabled or stalled, try first to guide it off the road, turn off all lights and keep foot off the brake. People tend to follow lights when driving in fog, so move away from the vehicle to avoid injury.

Hopefully our fog will lift in the next few days but in the meantime, stay safe.

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