UNITED STATES—Foggy conditions on I-5 led to the deaths of two people and nine others being hospitalized after a 35-car pile-up on the morning of January 6. The deadly accident took place just West of Bakersfield, according to the Kern County Fire Department.

The Southbound portion of Interstate 5 near Millux Road and Old River Road was closed, and southbound traffic was being rerouted to eastbound Highway 223.

According to Jim Calhoun of Kern County Fire Department, a total of 35 vehicles were involved in the accident, 17 passenger vehicles and 18 tractor trailers. Two people died at the scene from their injuries, and nine people were transported to local hospitals with minor injuries.

The accident site was spread over a half mile area. The most seriously injured patients were treated by first responders, Calhoun said.

Dense fog conditions around the Kern County area created unsafe driving conditions. A phenomenon referred to as “Tule Fog” is common in Kern County this time of year and the conditions are expected to last until February.

Driving in Fog

There are some safety features you can use to lessen the likelihood of having a collision when navigating in foggy conditions. “We cannot drive like it’s sunny and 72 degrees when there is fog,” said AAA spokesperson Doug Shupe.  Shupe urges drivers to always know the conditions before they leave their homes. Knowing what to do in certain conditions will better prepare you. Shupe says drivers should use low-beams and the defroster to maintain better visibility.” High beams can create a whitewall effect that reflects light off the fog. This can make it very hard to see what’s in front of you when it’s foggy.”

There are other things you can do to make your driving conditions better during foggy conditions, according to the California Driver Safety Handbook: One of the best things you can do is scan your surroundings to give you enough reaction time. It is advisable to allow yourself at least ten seconds.

Tailgating also makes it more difficult for drivers when you don’t have enough time to react to sudden braking. The three second rule is the best way to correct this. Following a vehicle from a safe distance could be the best thing you could do to avoid a collision.

Blind spots can also be a problem. These areas are not seen in your side mirrors. You need to look over your shoulders to ensure you can see the vehicle on either side of you.

When you are driving in foggy conditions, these steps can help with avoiding accidents. And if the fog is too thick, sometimes it’s best to just pull over and wait for it to clear up.