Every instance of inclement weather presents its own set of challenges to drivers. Dense fog, or any amount of fog for that matter, is no exception. If you encounter fog while driving, don’t panic. There are a number of precautions you can take to ensure you reach your destination without incident.
Here are six tips to help you drive safely in fog.
1. Keep Your Headlights On—Always
Visibility is key when driving through fog—for you and fellow drivers. Make sure your headlights are on, no matter what time of day you’re on the road. Headlights will allow you to see better, and ensure drivers behind you can see your brake lights.
Avoid using your high beam lights though. It might see like brighter lights are the solution to low visibility, but not in the case of fog. Using your high beams while driving in dense fog can create glare. This would make it harder for you to see what’s ahead of you on the road, according to the National Weather Service. Stick with your low beam headlights instead and use fog lights if your vehicle has them.
2. Keep Moving Or Pull Over
It might be tempting to stop your vehicle when you can’t see where you’re going. Don’t do that because cars coming up behind you might not realize you’re stopped until it’s too late. If the fog gets too dense, find a safe place to pull over that’s outside of the flow of traffic instead. A public place to wait out the fog is even better than hanging on the side of the road. If that’s your only option, be sure to turn off your lights once you’re off the road, J.D. Power recommends. If you keep them on, other drivers might think you’re in a travel lane and a collision could ensue.
3. Maintain A Safe Speed
The fog could cause you to see objects in front of you later than you normally would. That’s why it’s important to reduce your speed and put more distance between yourself and other vehicles, according to driver’s education platform Driving-Tests. The extra space will increase your reaction time. Keep an eye on your speedometer. It might seem like you’re moving slowly when you drive in fog and you’ll want to speed up. Don’t go by feel or your eyesight; stick with what the numbers are telling you.
4. Reduce Your Distractions
Your attention should always be 100% on the road when you’re driving. It’s even more imperative that you’re completely focused when driving through dense fog however. Eliminate whatever might distract you. Turn off the radio. Ask any passengers to be quiet. Stay off of your phone—even if you have a hands-free device, driver education site I Drive Safely recommends. Every ounce of your attention needs to be on the road.
5. Use Right-side Line Pavement Marker As A Guide
Anything that enhances your visibility while driving in fog is an asset. The white line that’s painted on the right side of the road can be a helpful guide in these situations, according to J.D. Power. You should not use the center pavement lines to guide you, however. Doing so might move you closer to oncoming cars. If you’re having trouble seeing them, they’re likely not seeing you very well either.
6. Keep Your Windshield And Windows Clear
Driving in fog is a great time put your windshield wipers and defrosters to work. Fog can create a moisture build up on your windshield, further decreasing your visibility. The defroster should be at a warm-to-hot setting in order to dry out the moisture, according to I Drive Safely. Your windshield wipers can also help keep the glass clear.
The best way to avoid a fog-related incident is to stay off of the road. If you have to drive through fog, however, remember to stay at a moderate speed, be respectful of your fellow drivers and don’t use your high beams. Take the good driving habits you have and enhance them a bit, and you should be able to complete your journey safely.
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By Joe Dyton