Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Seasonal fog, Florida's deadly visitor, is back on roads

TAMPA — Almost a year ago, dense fog contributed to a 70-vehicle series of pileups on Interstate 4 that killed five, injured 38 and closed a 14-mile stretch of the road for more than a day.

But on Monday, a day when heavy fog again haunted parts of Polk County highways, Florida Department of Transportation and Highway Patrol officials reported little change in the way they help motorists navigate fog hazards.

A study examining fog-related crashes is due by February or March, said department spokeswoman Cindy Clemmons-Adente. The findings should help the agency identify the best locations for installing fog detection devices. The lighted, informational signs that operate now over Tampa Bay area highways are expected to be functional in Polk County by May, she said.

But short of that, Clemmons-Adente said, the same precautions that were in place earlier this year are those in place now.

In Florida, conditions are particularly ripe for fog during late fall, winter and early spring.

Sgt. Steve Gaskins, a spokesman for the Highway Patrol's Troop C, which oversees Central Florida, said the Jan. 9 pileup prompted agency supervisors to get training in how to use weather forecasts to help them assess the risk of crashes and the need for public advisories.

But Gaskins said drivers need to do their part during foggy conditions — slow down, leave plenty of room between cars, be cautious.

"I think (the I-4 crash) got a lot of publicity because of the numbers involved, but we also had a lot of drivers who weren't doing what they were supposed to be doing," he said.

The Highway Patrol is still investigating two of the crashes that happened during that foggy stretch — one that involved 24 cars and caused four fatalities, and a second that involved 10 cars and left one dead.

Gaskins said the patrol is issuing 12 noncriminal traffic citations to drivers involved in that morning pileup.

"When you see fog, sleet, whatever, you need to reduce your speed," Gaskins said.

National Weather Service meteorologist Anthony Reyes said he recommends using low-beams, staying off the cell phone, turning off cruise control and always being prepared to stop.

"Every second counts when it comes to fog," Reyes said.

Rebecca Catalanello can be reached at rcatalanello@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3383.

Seasonal fog, Florida's deadly visitor, is back on roads 12/29/08 [Last modified: Tuesday, December 30, 2008 5:13pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Pittman: Why Irma drained the water from Tampa Bay

    Columns

    Nobody could believe it. As Hurricane Irma approached Florida, Tampa Bay suddenly went dry. People hopped down onto the bay bottom, now a vast sandy expanse, and walked around, stunned.

    Scores of people walk on the sand of Tampa Bay along Bayshore Boulevard in Tampa on Sept. 9. As Hurricane Irma approached, the water temporarily receded to an extreme level allowing people to walk on what used to be the waters of Tampa Bay. Tampa police later asked people to leave for their safety. [LUIS SANTANA   |   Times]
  2. SEC says hackers may have profited from stolen info

    Business

    The Securities and Exchange Commission says its corporate filing system was hacked last year and the intruders may have used the nonpublic information they obtained to profit illegally.

    In this file photo, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chairman nominee Jay Clayton testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington at his confirmation hearing before the Senate Banking Committee. The SEC says a cyber breach of a filing system it uses may have provided the basis for some illegal trading in 2016. [AP file photo]
  3. A boy and a girl stare at the camera from their house after Hurrciane Maria hit the eastern region of the island, in Humacao, Puerto Rico, Tuesday, September 20, 2017. The strongest hurricane to hit Puerto Rico in more than 80 years destroyed hundreds of homes, knocked out power across the entire island and turned some streets into raging rivers in an onslaught that could plunge the U.S. territory deeper into financial crisis. [Associated Prss]
  4. Young girl injured by 105 mph foul at Yankee Stadium renews call for more netting

    Ml

    NEW YORK — A young girl at Yankee Stadium was injured by a 105 mph foul ball off the bat of Todd Frazier during Wednesday's game against Minnesota, leading some players to call for protective netting to be extended.

    Baseball fans reacts as a young girl is tended to before she is carried out of the seating area after being hit by a line drive in the fifth inning of a baseball game between the New York Yankees and Minnesota Twins, Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017, at Yankee Stadium in New York. [Associated Press]
  5. Even a weakened Irma leaves its mark on Pasco

    Hurricanes

    It was a Category 5, a Category 3, a tropical storm. It was Hurricane Irma, and she turned out to be a little fickle by the time she touched Pasco County.

    But she had strong breath.

    Above, James Robbins of New Port Richey paddles on Elfers Parkway after checking on his cats living on the second floor of his home on the Anclote River.