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COLLIER COUNTY (CBSMiami) – Avoid U.S. 41 if you are driving to the west coast of Florida. The Florida Highway Patrol has shut the road down between Krome Avenue in Miami-Dade to SR 29 in Collier County due to brush fires.

I-75 remains open and can be used an alternate route.

The fire is burning in the Big Cypress Preserve, north of U.S. 41 in Collier County.

The road closure is necessary, officials said, to establish a burnout along U.S. 41 and to assist with maneuvering necessary fire equipment.

Motorists should follow these reduced visibility safe driving tips:

  • DRIVE WITH LIGHTS on low beam. High beams will only be reflected back off the fog and actually impair visibility even more. Your lights help other drivers see your vehicle, so be sure they all work. Keep your windshield and headlights clean, to reduce the glare and increase visibility.
  • SLOW DOWN – and watch your speedometer – before you enter a patch of fog. Be sure that you can stop within the distance that you can see. Fog creates a visual illusion of slow motion when you may actually be speeding. Speed is a major factor in fog-related crashes.
  • WATCH OUT for slow-moving and parked vehicles. Open you window a little and listen for traffic you cannot see.
  • REDUCE THE DISTRACTIONS in your vehicle. Turn off the radio and cell phone. Your full attention is required.
  • USE WIPERS AND DEFROSTERS liberally for maximum visibility. Sometimes it is difficult to determine if poor visibility is due to fog or moisture on the windshield.
  • USE THE RIGHT EDGE of the road or painted road markings as a guide.
  • BE PATIENT. Avoid passing and/or changing lanes.
  • SIGNAL TURNS well in advance and brake early as you approach a stop.
  • DO NOT STOP on a freeway or heavily traveled road. You could become the first link in a chain-reaction collision. If you must pull off the road, signal (people tend to follow tail lights when driving in fog), then carefully pull off as far as possible. After pulling off the road, turn on your hazard flashers (hazard lights should only be used when you pull over to show that you are parked on the side of the road). Move away from the vehicle.

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