Driving is an activity that requires various human organs to be put to work at once. The eyes are out there for visibility; the ears are there to listen to the environment and help the brain take action when there’s possible danger looming; the legs and hands are there to make sure the vehicle is driven safely, and the mouth is there to yell at errant or disobedient road users putting their lives and the lives of others at risk. However, these organs working together can be obstructed by weather conditions, among other things, and lead to an accident. An example of a weather condition that can lead to an accident is fog. A fog vehicle accident happens when a vehicle collision is caused by fog.
The National Geographic Society defines fog as a cloud that touches the ground. It is condensed water vapor close to the ground. According to the National Weather Service, there are different types of fog, including radiation fog, freezing fog, hail fog, etc.
Fog can be thick or thin, and they reduce visibility. They obscure features of the driving environment and diminish contrast, making it difficult for drivers to see key aspects of the road that are critical for safe driving.
It can make it difficult for a driver to tell the difference between a fixed and a moving vehicle. It might lead a driver to misinterpret speed and distance because vehicles appear to be closer or further apart than they are.
An area where fog is settled can be hazardous for drivers as their chances of seeing the road clearly will be reduced, increasing the likelihood of a collision.
How Deadly Can A Fog Vehicle Accident Be?
Fog settling on the road is no doubt dangerous. It’s a question of how dangerous and damaging a vehicle accident caused by fog can be.
The Federal Highway Administration recorded that there are 38,700 cases of fog vehicle accidents each year in the United States. Of the 38,700 crashes, a death toll of over 600 victims is being recorded, and more than 16,300 people are injured in these crashes annually.
The 1990 Interstate 75 fog disaster, regarded as one of the deadliest vehicle accidents in American history, shows how bad a fog vehicle accident can be. This incident was caused by a thick fog appearing on the Interstate 75 highway, one of America’s busiest highways, reducing the visibility of the environment to near-zero and leading to an array of vehicle collisions. This obstruction of visibility caused by fog led to a series of collisions involving 99 vehicles, leaving 12 victims dead and 42 injured.
On January 29, 2012, fog covering the freeway on Interstate 75 near Gainesville, Florida, led to a collision involving 19 vehicles which left 11 people killed and 18 others injured.
Who Is To Blame In A Fog Vehicle Accident?
It’s pretty easy to tag a fog vehicle accident as an act of God that a driver has no control over.
However, there are cases where the driver could have acted rightly and taken necessary precautions to avoid a collision in a scenario where there is fog covering the road.
A driver using a road in a case where there is fog is expected to drive slowly and carefully to cover for his distorted visibility and have ample time to break. However, not all do this.
There have been cases where a driver continues to speed at the required speed limit for a road or even faster even though the fog has reduced visibility. This can inevitably lead to an accident.
An example of such is the case of Robertson v. Welch, where the defendant while driving in a fog, hit a woman leading to her death. The highway was designated as a 35 miles per hour speed zone. However, despite the rain leaving the area misty and foggy, the defendant was said to have been moving at least 35 miles per hour. Three witnesses from the plaintiff claimed that the defendant was driving between 60 to 85 miles per hour as his vehicle did not stop until it had gone further, about 100 to 150 miles from the spot of collision.
This cannot be tagged an act of God because of the fog. The driver has a legal duty to drive his automobile at a lesser speed to avoid injury to others coming within the range of his lights.
Also, a driver can be at fault in a fog vehicle accident if they fail to utilize their low-beam headlights and window wipers to help increase their visibility.
If a driver who continues to drive at maximum speed despite the fact that there is a fog that has reduced visibility or caused zero visibility hits a vehicle or a pedestrian, this cannot be tagged as an act of God.
The circumstances surrounding the crash can help an attorney prove and establish liability on the driver’s part.
To prove the driver’s liability, an attorney can seek to use demonstrative evidence like a crash animation to illustrate how the driver’s actions while traveling on the road led to the collision.
The animation can illustrate what happens upon impact to the victim, whether in a car or as a pedestrian. Injuries to different parts of the body can be illustrated with an animation to drive home the point and establish liability and help the victim get the compensation they deserve.