Have you ever been out on the road when the fog sets in? Suddenly your visibility is obscured, and you can’t see more than a few feet in front of you. To an inexperienced or unprepared driver, driving in fog can have serious consequences.
Fortunately, there are some strategies you can implement to ensure your safety and the wellbeing of those around you. Driving in the fog can be dangerous, but it can also be manageable for a prepared driver.
There are a few things that every driver should know about driving safely in fog. Keep reading for helpful tips that can save your life!
1. Go Slow
Reducing your speed is one of the top ways to prevent an accident. And in foggy conditions, this only becomes more true.
Reduce your speed on foggy days. Remember that the posted speed limit refers to the maximum driving speed during ideal conditions. If the weather is not perfect, that speed is no longer appropriate.
Instead, you shouldn’t go any faster than you can safely drive. Slowing down gives you extra time to react in case of an accident.
In addition to driving slower, you should also take care not to brake out of the blue. New drivers often hit the brakes out of nowhere, and that is an especially bad idea on foggy days.
This is because your vehicle is harder to see in the fog. A driver behind you might not see you through the mist. And if you slam on the brakes, they might rear-end you because they don’t have time to get out of the way.
If you are preparing to leave your home and it looks foggy outside, do the smart thing and allow for extra traveling time. The one thing you should never do while driving in the fog is hurry. So allow yourself enough time to drive slowly and safely.
2. Use the Right Lights
It is true that your car’s lights can be beneficial when driving in the fog. But very often, people are confused about which lights they should be using. Not all of your car’s lights are equally advantageous in the fog.
For example, do not use your bright lights, also known as your high beams. High beams are great for driving in the dark, so many people think they will be useful in the fog. But in fact, they reflect off the fog and make it harder for you to see.
Instead, use your low beams. Since they are mounted low on your car, they can help you see the road in front of you. This is useful when the fog is thick.
You should also use your fog lights. Fog lights can help you see when conditions are bad, but you need to remember to turn them off when the weather improves. Driving with your fog lights on during a nice day can be dangerous.
If you are worried about being seen from behind, you can use your four-way flashers. These can be good if you are crawling at a snail’s pace and want to make sure no one will ram into you from behind.
3. Pull Over
No matter what, there is one surefire way to guarantee your safety on foggy days: don’t drive in it. If the fog is bad and your trip is not necessary, postpone it for another time.
If you have to drive, you may find that the fog gets worse in the middle of your trip. If that is the case, there is nothing wrong with pulling over for a while to wait for the worst of it to pass. But be careful about where you pull over.
Many people are tempted to pull over on the side of the road because it is the easiest option. But in fact, this is not the best choice.
Other drivers may see you parked to the side and think you are part of traffic. They might hit you by accident because they don’t know that you are stopped.
Other drivers may not see you at all. If you are too close to the side of the road, they may side-swipe you as they drive by.
So if it is possible, pull off onto a side street or a parking lot. That way, you can wait for the worst of the fog to pass without endangering your safety.
And if you continue driving, remember to keep an eye out for other drivers who may have pulled off to the side of the road.
4. Amplify Your Spatial Awareness
Spatial awareness is a necessary element of driving expertise. But it is essential on foggy days. You should try to pay extra attention to where you are in relation to other cars.
Try to avoid getting too close to other cars. This means that on foggy days, you should avoid passing or changing lanes.
It is also a good idea to turn off cruise control when the weather is foggy. Bad weather often causes frequent stops and starts, and you want to be ready for those.
It is recommended that you stay 3-5 car lengths behind other vehicles on nice weather days. This is because this distance typically gives you enough time to stop or move if something happens suddenly. On foggy days, make sure you are at least 5 car lengths behind another driver.
This extra spatial awareness could save your life on foggy days. For more tips on how to drive in fog or other compromised conditions, visit our website for answers to all of your questions.
5. Keep Your Windshield Clear
If it is foggy, it may also be raining or damp. If this is the case, it is your duty to make sure you keep your windshield clear. Liquid on your windshield can create glare, making it even harder to see through the fog.
Fog is also a great reminder to keep your windshield clear of dirt and grime. On nice days, dirt on the windshield may not seem to matter. But it is amazing how it obstructs your vision when the weather is bad.
Clean your windshield regularly, whether you are driving in foggy weather or not.
6. Follow the Road Lines
If you are being responsible and maintaining an appropriate distance from other drivers, you may not see them. This means you will not be able to rely on them for guidance on the road. One of the most difficult parts of driving in the fog is determining where your lane begins and ends.
And that is what the road lines are there for. Instead of relying on other cars, locate the markings on the right side of your lanes and follow that as your guide. Many roads also implement reflectors on the lane markings for this purpose.
Following the painted road lines is a great way to stay safe and on track during foggy days. But remember that if you are having a lot of trouble locating your lane, it may be time to revisit tip number three. Pull over and wait out the worst of the fog.
The problem with fog is that it obscures your vision, perhaps the most important sense for driving safely. But when one sense is hindered, you may find that your other ones can become more useful. On foggy days, roll down your window and listen to what is around you.
If the fog is bad, you will not be able to see other vehicles. But you might be able to hear them. Listen for the sounds of approaching cars and drive your vehicle accordingly.
But once again, if you cannot see anything at all, it is better to pull into a parking lot and wait out the worst of it.
The usefulness of listening while you drive is also a reminder that in the fog, it is best to eliminate distractions. Turn off the music and ask your passengers not to talk. The better you can focus, the safer you will be.
Prioritize Driving Safely in Fog
Foggy weather can make safe driving a lot more difficult than you are used to. But with the above seven tips, driving safely in fog is possible. Remember, the weather may change, but the importance of your safety does not.
Driving safely in variable weather conditions is a key facet of defensive driving. At Defensivedriving.org, we offer driving courses and lessons to help you become the best driver you can be. Click here to begin an online course today!