Fog Makes for Dangerous Commute

December 11, 2008 12:00:00 AM PST
The Valley is waking up to a dangerous morning commute. -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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The CHP has been "pacing" traffic on the Highway 99 me all the way down through Tulare County. The last thing they want is a repeat of Wednesday's multi-car pile-up.

With only a couple hundred feet of visibility in dense fog valley drivers must be able to react and respond quickly on the road.

"So bad you can't even drive, especially in the morning on your way to work." Steven Hernandez commutes on Highway 99 weekly. So does Frank Moreno whose work brings him in from Lodi. "I grew up in the delta and it's bad. It's just something you deal with every winter."

"They need to drive like their life depended on it. Because it does." Officer Mark McWilliams said highway patrol officers pace on foggy roads to keep drivers below the normal speed limit for their own safety. "And at the same time Caltrans personnel will start activating their changeable message signs which are those big billboard signs you see on the freeways and they'll advise you of dense fog, slow down."

But those Caltrans signs are not available yet. "The signs are going us as fast as the funding is available. So as soon as the money became available we implemented the ad campaign," said Eric Alvarez with Caltrans.

Caltrans said that information could potentially help prevent pileups like the one Wednesday morning in Tulare County. Four separate accidents occurred involving 56 cars and 4 big rigs. No one was seriously hurt.

But drivers Action News spoke to warn this wreck is a reminder why it is so important to follow CHP's suggestions for safe driving in this pea soup.

Authorities are quick to point out that technology and traffic control can only do so much. It's ultimately up to valley drivers to exercise common sense when driving through fog.

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