Tag: what is fog

Fog Is Both Wonder And Peril

Fog Is Both Wonder And Peril

The shroud of fog is both wonder and peril. Fog can provide opportunities to see our surroundings painted with a different face and to hear them in a new light. Although I grew up in an area with frequent occurrences of fog, the most surreal experience I remember, was being enveloped in fog walking the streets in downtown London late at night. The buildings became ghostly in that veil, yet the combination of fog and architecture achieved beauty.  One of the most dangerous experience in my life was attempting to drive through fog at night near London, Ontario, Canada. (The London nomenclature is completely coincidental and although possessing the same names, are in different countries entirely. The first was in a place called England.)

fog is both wonder and peril

What Is Fog?—The Dictionary

  1. A cloudlike mass or layer of minute water droplets or ice crystals near the surface of the Earth, appreciably reducing visibility.
  2. Any darkened state of the atmosphere, or the diffused substance that causes it.
  3. A state of mental confusion or unawareness; daze; stupor

To avoid confusion, the following is the definition of mist:

  1. A cloudlike aggregation of minute globules of water suspended in the atmosphere at or near the Earth’s surface, reducing visibility to a lesser degree than fog.
  2. A cloud of particles like a mist of perfume.
  3. Something that dims, obscures, or blurs.

fog is both wonder and peril

What is Fog?—Science

It can be considered a cloud at ground level although formed differently than a cloud. Condensed water droplets make up fog. The droplets are the result of air being cooled to the dewpoint, the point at which the air can not hold all the water vapor it contains. Unlike clouds, the cooling can be caused by a ground temperature or air near the ground. As an example, rain can cool the ground until fog forms.

More frequently, fog is formed when a humid air mass cools at night while the warm ground and water surfaces are still evaporating water into the atmosphere. Or a warm moist air mass moves over a cold surface like snow or ice. There are other processes that form fog, but the fog is the condition of water droplets or ice crystals in the air.

fog is both wonder and peril

The most fog-prone areas of the United States are the Appalachians, northern New England, and the Pacific Northwest. Northern Gulf Coast and California coast can also have frequent fog.

The Wonder and Beauty of Fog

The allure of fog can be best communicated through art and photographs:

fog is both wonder and peril
Where Ravens Soar – Elizabeth Ellison

Elizabeth also supplied the header art at the top of this post. It’s entitled: That Day

Clicking or touching her name will connect to her website.


fog is both wonder and peril


fog is both wonder and peril


fog is both wonder and peril


Poetry of Fog

Fog – by Carl Sandbur

The fog comes
on little cat feet.

It sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on.

The Fog – by Theresa Ann Moore

A veiled wall of misty low hanging clouds
Mysteriously conceals and restrictively shrouds.
Visibility is far from marvelous this morning…
Travelers appear from the fog with no warning.

With uneasiness, I peer into the cold space ahead.
I am in familiar surroundings, but feel lost instead.
The road before me beckons, as I apply the brake…
Accelerating without caution could be a serious mistake.

Sounds of distress are now heard from beyond my view.
No doubt someone has had an unintentional rendezvous.


Fog-A Maine Tall Tale

retold by

S.E. Schlosser

You can talk ’til you’re blue in the face about the thickest of fogs in ye merry olde England, but I’m tellin’ you now, sure as I’m standing here, that England’s fogs don’t hold nothing over them thick fogs which roll in over the Bay of Fundy here in Maine. These ain’t your little pea soupers, you can betcher life. These fogs is so thick you can drive a nail into them and hang yer hat on it. It’s the honest truth.

One of my neighbors works a fishing boat, but he can’t do nothin’ when a Maine fog comes rolling into the bay. He always saves up his chores for a foggy day. One day, the fog came rollin’ in overnight, and my friend knew there wasn’t to be no fishin’ that day. So he decides his roof needs shingling. He got started at the shingling right after breakfast, and didn’t come down ’til dinner.

“Maude, we got a mighty long house,” he told his wife over supper. “Took me all day to shingle.”

Well, Maude knew right enough that they lived in a small house. After all, she’d been cleanin’ it for nigh on twenty years, so who would know better? She went outside to take a look. And I’ll be jiggered if she didn’t discover that my neighbor had shingled right past the edge of the roof and out onto the fog!

But If You Drive In Fog

fog is both wonder and peril

Let’s start with Advice from AA in the UK. I like this because of the language:

  • Use dipped headlights, wipers and demisters. (translation to English: Use low beams, windshield wipers, and defrosters.)
  • Use fog lights when you need to.
  • Don’t rely on automatic lights-they may not come on in fog.
  • Beware of other drivers not using headlights.
  • Don’t rely on daytime running lights alone.
  • Only drive as fast as conditions allow.
  • Keep a greater distance-allow three seconds between you and the car in front.
  • Tailing another car’s rear lights can give a false sense of security and it’s dangerous. (In the U.S. that goes for pickup trucks also.)
  • Adjust your speed so you can stop in the distance you can see clearly.
  • Don’t speed up to get away from a vehicle that’s too close behind you.
  • Check your mirrors before you slow down.
  • Open your windows to listen for traffic at junctions you can’t see. (translation to English: …listen for traffic at intersections or entrance ramps you can’t see.)

Some added advice from other sources:

  • Never use your high-beam lights. Causes a glare from the fog.
  • In extremely dense fog where visibility is near zero, the best course of action is to turn on your hazard flashing lights and pull into a safe location like a parking lot. If not available, get off the road as far as possible and keep only hazard lights on. (I should have followed this one. More about that later.)
  • Don’t drift. There’s a natural tendency to wander to the center of the road. Keep in your lane.
  • Beware of critters. They are bolder under the cover of fog.
  • Beware of freezing fog—known as black ice.
  • Use the right edge of the road as a guide.
  • As for help from your passengers to look out for oncoming cars and obstacles on the road. (and raccoons)

fog is both wonder and peril

And finally, don’t ever do what I did:

Driving a vehicle without fog lights and overloaded in the cargo area so that the headlights pointed above rather than on the road, I encountered a dense fog unlike any I had experienced somewhere southeast of London, Ontario, Canada. I could see the fog lit by the headlights immediately in front of the vehicle, but that was about it. I could not see the roadway at all. Determined to at least reach London that night, I ventured on. I put on the hazard flashers as recommended above but without being able to see any of the road I needed some additional action. Turning off the headlights completely, I discovered I could detect grass at the right shoulder of the road if I drove on the shoulder, but that necessitated turning off the flashers to use parking lights only. We traveled that way for about a hundred feet before fear of being struck by another vehicle overcame me. I evoked the advice rule above and got help from other family members. Turning the hazards back on, one of my children kept a vigil out the rear window for an approaching vehicle’s lights while another walked along the grass just to the right front of the vehicle, so she could yell to me through the open windows when to adjust course so to keep our vehicle on the road. It was cold outside, bringing us close to frostbite. We travelled this way for nearly two hours before the density of the fog diminished enough to see the road with the headlights on. I’m not sure how much distance we covered that way. It was akin to walking a horse I suppose. I look back on that incident, realizing how dealing with driving in fog in that manner put our family in danger. That is why you won’t find my approach for dealing with driving in the fog listed in the advice above.


I am a fiction writer, but research topics and provide posts like the one above for enlightenment and entertainment. If you liked it, please take a look at some of my other posts and my home page, R. A. Andrade. This post was prompted by the following passage in my upcoming novel, Three Remain:

Glancing up to the south, Glen saw the ominous fog looming over the rooftops accentuating the unnatural appearance of the town. There had been no dissipation or movement of the bright veil of white. He started the engine and pulled the shift lever into drive.