Local agencies want drivers to be prepared for dense fog this winter

Weather-related accidents occur on highways due to snow and ice in the mountains, rain in the foothills and dense fog in the Central Valley. The National Weather Service says that is the most deadly type of severe weather here due to drivers not taking precautions.

Bright shine and mild conditions might not seem like it but our quiet weather pattern is actually perfect timing to remind drivers about the dense fog that makes a home in the Central Valley each winter.

"I don't think people account for it. I think a lot of time we wake up in the morning we are not prepared for the incoming weather or what not. One of the first things we always see is speed conditions and not adjusting that," said Jesse Holguin, California Highway Patrol Assistant Chief.

Holguin says speeding is the most common mistake drivers make on the road each fog season.

Wednesday the C.H.P. teamed up with CalTrans and the National Weather Service of Hanford to prepare drivers.

"Our mission is to have people plan ahead and be proactive as much as they can. So we can prevent some of these chain-reaction accidents that occur on these major highways," Kris Mattarochia, National Weather Service.

CalTrans has new lane stripes on certain highways that are wider and more visible in all types of weather.

They also have sensors keeping track of visibility during dense fog and changeable message signs to alert drivers of dangerous conditions.

"They're much more in tune with what is happening on the roadways than we are. And we know the forecast. So that information exchange helps us get out accurate timely information to protect the public from these very foggy days," said Mattarochia.

The National Weather Service has developed a new fog severity index which the public will start to see this winter informing them about the intensity of dense fog.

But all agencies encourage drivers to give themselves extra time and full attention to the road when behind the wheel.

"We have a lot of distractions within the vehicle and obviously we have our devices and what not. We need everybody's attention a hundred percent on the road. Particularly when we are challenged by adverse weather conditions," said Holguin.
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