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The risk of driving in fog or smoke

Drivers in New Jersey and elsewhere face several challenges when visibility conditions are foggy or smoky. It can reduce their visibility significantly, reducing contrast and obscuring their surroundings. This makes it difficult for them to accurately see what is ahead, which is crucial for their safety. The use of the high beam headlights on a vehicle compounds the visibility issues because the light reflects off of fog and smoke.

Although these dangers exist, studies on the impact of fog on road safety are few. A 2005 study found that fog splits drivers into two categories called non-laggers and laggers. There are more non-laggers, and they try to remain within visible distance of the vehicle ahead of them, likely because they feel uncomfortable with the low visibility situation. What they do not realize, however, is that they are driving too close to other vehicles, and it is evident that failing to maintain safe distances increases the risk of car crashes.

A 2001 study found that drivers in foggy visibility believed that the lead car was 60 percent farther away than in clear visibility. Although a safe following distance is related to speed, not all drivers take their speed into consideration. In a 2011 study, researchers discovered that drivers fail to reduce their speeds in foggy conditions until the ability to remain in a lane becomes compromised. They noticed that even when drivers slow down, it is insufficient to avoid sudden hazards.

Serious injuries could be life changing for car accident victims. Although some crashes in inclement weather are unavoidable, motorists still have a duty of care to others on the road, and this includes taking into account weather conditions. A person who is injured as a result of a driver going too fast on a road that was covered in fog may want to speak with a personal injury attorney to determine the recourse that may be available.

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