Brush fire could cause visibility issues on I-10

Published: Friday, November 23, 2012 at 2:52 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, November 23, 2012 at 2:52 p.m.

The Florida Highway Patrol continues to monitor a brush fire at the Columbia-Baker county line, according to a press release issued Friday.

FHP is watching the areas of U.S. 90 and Interstate 10, and Queen Road and Senior Court. Travelers are urged to use caution in those areas, especially at night.

Visibility in the areas could deteriorate quickly due to smoke and fog conditions, according to the release. Motorists should reduce speed and use low-beam headlights to adapt to changing weather conditions.

On its website, FHP has additional tips for driving in low-visibility conditions:

The agency says driving with high beams in foggy conditions can reflect back off the fog and further impair visibility. Officials also advise cleaning your windshield and headlights to reduce glare.

Speed is another issue to watch out for, and it's a major factor in fog-related crashes. Slow down and watch your speedometer before you enter a patch of fog. Fog creates a visual illusion of slow motion, and drivers may not realize how fast they're going.

In fog, it's important to use all of your senses and watch for slow-moving or parked vehicles, so opening a window to hear better can help, FHP says.

Distractions can also play a part in poor-weather crashes. Turn off radios and cellphones to keep full attention on the road, according to FHP.

For maximum visibility, use wipers and defrosters often. It can be difficult to determine if poor visibility is from fog or moisture on the windshield, FHP says. Try not to pass or change lanes; patience is important, and use the right edge or painted road as a guide.

The one thing the FHP stresses more than all others is not stopping on a freeway or a heavily traveled road, as you could become the first in a chain-reaction collision. The agency advises that if you must pull off the road make sure to signal first — and then pull off as far as possible.

After pulling off, turn on hazard lights, which should only be used to signal drivers that you are on the side of the road, and make sure to move as far away from the vehicle as possible, FHP says.

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