From the editor: Seeing clearly on a foggy day

Published 3:42 pm Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Dawn Burleigh, Editor

Tuesday morning started off in a state of fog for Orange County. 

The old saying of ‘as thick as pea soup’ was a good description of the fog in the area as many residents drove to work.

It is recommended, when driving in fog conditions, to use low beam headlights and fog lights. Do not use high beams when driving in fog conditions according to the Texas Department of Transportation.

Yet, many vehicles on the roads Tuesday morning, including dump trucks, business vehicles, and private vehicles did not have on any lights as they navigated the streets in Orange.

The purpose of the lights is not so you can see better but so others can see you. 

A vehicle at a stop sign, with the blinker on to indicate turning left, needs to be able to see the oncoming traffic to safely make the turn. If the oncoming traffic does not have any lights on, and it is foggy outside, the car at the stop sign cannot see the vehicle until it is almost too late for the oncoming vehicle to stop. 

Fortunately, I delayed making the turn long enough for a vehicle to emerge from the fog.

The close call had me counting the number of cars on the road without any lights on. In a short stretch of road, approximately two miles, I passed 15 cars without lights. I stopped counting then. 

I then started the second count for oncoming vehicles from when I could spot their headlights to when I could actually see the car. In some cases, it was a four-second delay. When one is traveling at 60 miles per hour, that is the equivalent of half a mile.

If turning traffic cannot see you, and make the turn…

Turn on your lights, not so you can see better but so others can see you. Help end the streak.

November 7, 2000, was the last deathless day on roadways in Texas. That means for 19 years straight, at least one person has died every single day. Texas Transportation Commission and TxDOT officials held a press conference in Houston, launching the annual #EndTheStreakTX campaign that asks all Texans to join the effort to end this deadly 19-year streak.

“I want to challenge everyone here to tell 10 people right now about #EndtheStreakTX,” Ryan said. “Take out your phones and let them know that you need their help to #EndtheStreakTX. Text them this message or share it on social media and tag at least 10 people. Challenge them to share the message with 10 of their friends, and so on. Let’s not have a 20th anniversary next Nov.7th”

Since Nov. 7, 2000, fatalities resulting from vehicle crashes on Texas roadways have numbered almost 67,000. The leading causes of fatalities continue to be a failure to stay in one lane, alcohol and speed. To decrease the chances of roadway crashes and fatalities, TxDOT reminds drivers to:

  • Buckle seatbelts – all passengers need to be buckled
  • Pay attention – put phones away and avoid distractions
  • Never drink and drive or do drugs and drive –get a sober ride home
  • Drive the speed limit – obey speed limits and drive slower when weather conditions warrant

Let’s do our part to help #EndtheStreakTX


Dawn Burleigh is general manager and editor of The Orange Leader. She can be reached at