Driving in Fog
One of the most difficult conditions to drive in is fog. Form forms as the air cool and looks like a cloud that has made contact with the ground. This type of weather is worse if you are driving along the coast and generally occurs in the evening or the morning. You should avoid driving in fog whenever possible. Car accidents including multi-car crashes are not uncommon during a dense fog. Following the tips below will decrease your risks for an accident and help keep you safe.
When the fog is dense, something scary often happens. The drivers unknowingly hit their gas pedals. You probably realize one of the biggest mistakes you can make is increasing your speed during a fog. The reason it happens is that an optical illusion is created by the fog. When you are looking through your windshield, it will appear you are driving much more slowly than your actual speed. Try to remain calm so you do not become nervous. Look at your speedometer a lot or you will gradually begin increasing your speed. As your speed picks up, your chances of having an accident increase. Remember to check your speedometer to make certain you keep your speed stable.
The Importance of Headlights
Whenever you are driving in fog, make certain your headlights are on. Your daytime running lights will not be sufficient in this type of situation. One of the most common mistakes is turning off your headlights because you believe the reflection in the fog may blind you. When your headlights are off, you literally become a ghost to the other drivers on the road. The reason you must turn on your headlights is not to improve your own vision, but to be visible to the other drivers. Many of the newer vehicles have fog lights. Use them if you have them because the most important thing you can do is remain visible.
Using Your High Beams
Never use your high beams when you are driving in fog. The reflection from your high beams will actually decrease your visibility by reflecting off the droplets of water. Even if you believe the same thing is happening due to your low beam headlights, do not turn them off. It is critical that your vehicle can be seen.
Stopping when Driving in Fog
One of the safest ways to stop in fog is to ensure your car is equipped with off road tyres. At times, the fog can be so thick it is not safe to drive. If you become nervous and uncomfortable while driving, your best option is to pull off the road until the fog lifts. Never forget how dangerous fog is because it impairs your ability to see clearly. Get as far away from the road as you possibly can. Pull into a rest area, driveway, side street, parking lot or any area that will place distance between your vehicle and the flow of traffic.
If your only option is the roadway shoulder, take it. Pull over as far as you can, even if it means you are in the grass. If there is a curb, drive right over it because parking on the other side is safer. Keep your seat-belt on and your lights off. When other drivers see your lights they may believe you are still driving. This can easily cause a crash. Do not turn on your flashers, keep your foot off the brake pedal and leave all of your lights off. Unless there is a shelter close by you can reach quickly, remain in your car with your seatbelt on.
Increasing your Distance
It is crucial not to increase your following distance in fog. A lot of drivers will drive in bunches because they believe this improves their vision. Although it is scary to drive in fog, this is not the time to follow the car in front of you too closely. This is why multi-vehicle accidents usually occur.
The Time Factor
Under most circumstances, a thick fog is temporary. Usually, you will only see smaller patches of the denser fogs on mountain peaks or valleys, near lakes, rivers and streams or near open and moist fields. Patches of fog wandering from area to area are not uncommon when the air is extremely humid. Fog is at the worst during the hours of early morning and at night. You may encounter dense fog covering a lot of miles. The National Weather Service will usually issue an advisory or a warning when the condition is extremely dangerous. If you hear one of these warnings, do not attempt to drive.
The driving skills of yourself and the other drivers become unimportant because you will not be able to drive safely if you are unable to see. You do not need the fog to lift completely to drive. You do need to allow enough time for the fog to thin out a little bit. Unless you are driving in a valley, the fog will move from one area to another. The fog will settle if a valley is dense enough. If you are parked and the fog becomes worse, do not attempt to drive. Driving in risky conditions can cost you your life. Do not forget pulling off the shoulder of any road must be your last resort under any circumstances.
Following the Lines
When you have to drive in fog, follow the lines of the road. This will help you remain in your lane. The majority of drivers are attracted to lights and will drive towards them. This is why it is safer to watch the lines as opposed to the other drivers. This will help ensure you stay in your own lane. Do not fixate your eyes, but keep them moving.
The Bottom Line
Driving in fog is often dangerous. Do not take any unnecessary risks. Following the above tips will help keep you safe.