Are you stuck in a fog?
I used to live – and therefore drive – in the central valley of California, south of Sacramento and was privileged enough to experience driving in near-zero visibility conditions on a major interstate highway that normally hosts gazillions of speeding cars, monster semi-trucks and massive R.V.’s driven by little ol’ men & ladies (whose driving expertise was limited to the family Buick).
Scary enough when you could see who was riding your rear bumper at 70 miles an hour.
I thought the stories of people driving in the legendary tule fog of Fresno having to climb up the poles to read the street signs were just urban myths.
That was until I would find myself driving in the pea-soup fog with the window rolled down so I could follow the yellow lane lines while listening for traffic.
Really safe, huh?
So a short article in today’s newspaper caught my attention with a headline reading “Highway 99: New fog-detecting program could prevent pileups.”
My excitement for a new advancement for driving safety was short-lived when I realized that apparently this new program was merely a message board that informs the driving public that the visibility is decreasing.
That reminded me of an accident my younger daughter once had when we lived in the high desert of northeast California, where the deer and the antelope roamed-literally.
Someone had already hit a poor, defenseless doe and it lay smack in the middle of the lane. In the darkness, my daughter noticed someone along the edge of the road wildly waving to get her attention – ostensibly to warn her of the road hazard right in front of her.
With her attention diverted momentarily from the road – yup, you guessed it – she ran right over the downed deer. (No serious damage to her low-slung Honda Civic; no serious injury to my daughter other than quite a fright; and no serious panic to her father after another late-night cell phone call which starts out with, “Dad, I’m o.k. but…”)
So, back to the new, high-tech fog detecting road signs…what happened to the concept of just keeping your eyes on the road and driving at whatever speed it takes see what is ahead of you within your stopping distance?
Hey, I got a novel suggestion: slow the hell down and stay off my rear.