Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Driving Safely in Fog

2015 Mercedes G-Class. Image courtesy of Daimler.
One of the most dangerous conditions to drive in is fog. Most people don't think about the risks until they are in the middle of a foggy area, and then they panic and do things that actually put them even more at risk. Having your visibility while driving reduced by a considerable amount is certainly concerning, but if you keep your head about you and follow these tips, you should come out of the situation without any problems.

First off, many drivers turn on their high beams to help them see in the fog. This strategy is incredibly flawed since it will actually result in the driver being able to see even less. The light from the high beams will actually reflect off of the water vapor in the air, making it even more difficult to see anything. Instead of hitting your high beams, turn on your fog lights, if your car is equipped with them. Many people use fog lights just to look cool, but those little lights on the front of your car are mounted low for a reason. They will actually improve your visibility in the fog, helping you navigate through the area with less difficulty.

Turning up your sound system is a bad idea. When you are driving in the fog, it's a good idea to turn off any music or talk radio in your car. You need to listen for other car horns, squealing tires or other audio clues that indicate a problem lies ahead on the road. Rolling down your windows helps you hear even more, which will keep you and everyone in your car safer.

Another big mistake people make when driving in fog is maintaining their speed. It's completely okay to slow down to well below the posted speed limit when thick fog is present. After all, if you can't see where you're going very well, going fast can lead to disaster. The faster you go, the less time you have to react when a large semi appears out of nowhere in the thick fog, giving you little to no time to react. If you slow down, you will see such obstacles and have more time to react. This even applies when you are driving on roads you know extremely well, because you still can't see the other cars on the road.

While you should slow down when driving in fog, you need to avoid slamming on your brakes. Stopping completely where there is no traffic light or stop sign can be downright dangerous. Other drivers might not be able to see your car until they are right on top of you, triggering a serious accident. Also, if your car is equipped with a rear fog light, activating it can help other drivers see your car much sooner.

When you see other cars on the road, maintain a healthy distance from them. In the fog it's hard to tell when other cars are slowing down, so keeping more distance from them than usual helps you avoid getting into an accident. Also, if someone does slam into the back of your car, you will be less likely to strike the vehicles in front of you, which will keep everyone safer. 

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