Driving in Fog: 5 Essential Tips to Stay Safe
Certain weather conditions can make it difficult for even the most proficient drivers to navigate their vehicles safely and confidently. This is certainly the case with heavy fog. Pushing your auto through a thick blur of white can be unnerving. With decreased visibility and nervous motorists all around you, you’ll need to take special precautions to avoid collisions.
Each year, extreme fog causes hundreds of pile-ups and accidents. The good news is that if you get caught in a blanket of fog, there are five things you can do to make it to your destination safely. Here are 5 essential tips for driving safely in fog.
1. Do Not Use Your High Beams
The best lights for foggy conditions are your low beams. Although you might be tempted to switch your high beams on, this isn’t a situation in which these lamps will increase your visibility. Instead, their stronger and brighter light will reflect off the tiny water droplets that make up the fog.
As a result, the fog will only seem thicker and denser, and your ability to see will be further diminished. You can try using your fog lamps to get a better view of what’s in front of you, but when fog is extreme, your low beams may be the best choice.
2. Give Yourself an Increased Stopping Distance
Whenever visibility is compromised, you want to make sure that you have an increased stopping distance between you and the vehicle in front of you. Although you might be comfortable driving in fog, the person ahead of you could be far less so.
Keep in mind that nervous drivers are prone to veering out of their lanes, making sudden stops, and slowing to a veritable crawl when foggy conditions arise. Going slow and being prepared for anything will ensure that you always have plenty of time and space to react with the right evasive actions.
You’ll want to maintain a comfortable stopping distance even if the person behind you is impatiently tailgating. Driver negligence and liability for negligence remain the same in all weather conditions. If the person behind you winds up rear-ending you, you can always request a free consultation with a car accident lawyer and file a claim. Never let impatient motorists force you into driving at unsafe speeds.
3. Don’t Come to a Sudden Stop
When you find yourself entering into a large fog bank, your first instinct may be to hit the brakes, stop the vehicle, and regain your bearings. This is actually one of the worst things that you can do. Remember that every other driver on the road will be having a hard time seeing as well. Making a sharp, sudden stop could lead to a pile-up. Rather than slamming the brakes and stopping outright, gradually slow your speed.
4. Know How to Pull off Safely
If you’re overwhelmed by the fog and know that pulling off is your best bet, let people behind you know what you’re doing by turning on your signal well-in-advance of your exit. Drivers behind you could be relying on your taillights as a guide. Moreover, it may take time for them to see your signal lights.
When you pull off to the shoulder, pull as far away from the road as you possibly can. Once you’re safely parked, turn your hazard lights on. If other motorists can’t clearly see the shoulder, then they probably won’t see you.
5. Get Rid of Distractions
When you enter heavy fog, you should immediately get rid of all unnecessary distractions. Turn off the radio and stop using any hands-free technologies that you normally rely on. Your entire concentration should be placed on the road ahead. If you have passengers traveling with you, ask them to turn off any in-car entertainment that they’re using. Outside noises and unnecessary conversation could keep you from identifying obstructions and other problems in time to react to them.
Driving in foggy conditions can be scary. By slowing down, signaling in advance, and maintaining a good stopping distance, you can minimize your likelihood of getting into an accident. If you choose to pull off, signaling in advance and choosing a safe space to park will prevent other motorists from running into you.