Foggy weather means turn on headlights

Dear Street Smarts, Q: Can you find out when headlights are needed in the fog? Gene Pauly, via email A: Sure! Turn on your headlights when the weather is foggy, cloudy, rainy and snowy. Also, turn on your headlights anytime you turn on your windshield wipers. The California Driver Handbook also says you should use your headlights:
  • When it's difficult to see other vehicles. Drivers in those cars may be having issues seeing you, too.
  • On narrow country or mountain roads, including on sunny days. This helps other motorists see you and possibly help avoid a head-on collision.
  • To get another driver’s attention.
  • During frosty mornings, when other vehicles’ windows may be icy or foggy.
Holiday travel Speaking of driving, about 3 million Californians will hit the road this three day Labor Day holiday weekend -- the unofficial end of summer, according to AAA of Northern California. If you plan to be among them, AAA offers these gas saving tips:
  • Maintain proper air pressure in your tires. Each pound of under inflated tire pressure means two percent loss in fuel efficiency.
  • Don't buy premium gasoline unless your car's manual specifies it.
  • Drive the speed limit. Traveling over 55 mph increases aerodynamic drag and rapidly decreases fuel efficiency.
  • Try to accelerate and break smoothly. Avoid hard breaking. Drive defensively not aggressively.
  • Unnecessary idling wastes gas. Do not warm up your car.
  • Travel light, as a loaded roof rack can reduce your fuel economy by 5 percent.
Meanwhile, if you plan to barbecue or otherwise let your hair down with alcohol, AAA will roll out its Tipsy Tow program from 6 p.m. Monday, Sept. 5 to 6 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 6 to members and non-members alike. By calling (800)-222-4357 and saying, "I need a Tipsy Tow," participating tow companies will pick you and your vehicle up and take you home, free of charge for up to five miles. Any passengers you may have with you also can get a ride as long as they fit in the tow truck's cab. Rides are one way only and can not be used for party hopping. Reservations are not accepted.      
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