Driving safety tips for the next time you get caught up in dense fog

Weather Blog

EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) ─ Whether you live along coastal areas or commute at times, you have probably noticed a thick layer of fog, typically in the morning or during the afternoon hours.

It can cause low visibilities on roadways but also make for some nice pictures just like the one below.

Check out this satellite imagery from April 9. The clouds and wind flow is from the southwest to northeast over Rhode Island and Connecticut.

Now look offshore just south of southern New England and you see a layer of stationary clouds. That’s a fog bank hovering over the open ocean.

Typically, during this time of the year when fog “burns off” during the morning hours, it remains well offshore before moving back in over land during the evening hours.

Water temperatures are still very cold from winter so a combination of warmer air moving over colder water and moisture in the air help create thick dense fog.

Dense fog can cause serious hazards when driving on the roadways and bridges, just like the one pictured above of the Newport-Pell Bridge.

Some important driving tips to keep in mind. When you come across foggy areas, lower your speeds. You should be at least close to if not below the speed limit in hazardous weather.

Use low-beam headlights and do not use your high beams. High beams spread light farther out and are brighter, so the combination between the brightness and the fog can temporarily reduce other drivers vision of the roadway, if not blinding them completely of what’s ahead.

Use the right side of the roadway as a guide to follow the road. Stay away from the middle as this will keep you a safe distance from oncoming traffic.

Lastly, do not stop on roadways. Visibility will be limited and in extremely dense fog, motorists may only see just a few feet in front of them. If you need to pull off, find a safe space and put your hazard/flashers on.

Typically this is what the setup looks like. A wind off the water pushes the fog bank over the south coast and it usually spreads northward through the bay and to other surrounding coastal areas. The bay’s influence plays a big part in fog as often times only solely the bay will be covered in fog and land areas will not.

Land naturally heats up faster than water, so when the sun rises, you’ll see the fog burn off over land faster, whereas it will linger over the water.

Connect with 12 News Meteorologist Steven Matregrano on social media:

Facebook – Steven Matregrano WPRI
Twitter – smatregranoWPRI
Instagram – smatregrano

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