Driving in fog is considered to be the most dangerous weather hazard, especially if it is exceptionally dense fog or combined with other adverse weather conditions. Foggy conditions are the number one cause of large multi-car pile ups. However, there are some things you can do to reduce your risk of a crash.
Driving in the fog can be very scary and most people become nervous. Take a deep breath and reduce your driving speed. Many people are concentrating on the fog and don’t realize they are driving faster and faster. Keep your eyes on the road but check periodically to make sure you haven’t increased your speed.
Always keep your headlights on when driving in foggy conditions. This will ensure your vehicle is visible to others both ahead of you and behind you. Use your low-beam headlights, not daytime running lights since this means your taillights will also be on. Many people turn their lights off as they feel their headlights are blinding them from reflecting off the fog, but you essentially become a “ghost car” when this happens. Your headlights aren’t so you can see better, it’s so others can see you! If your car is equipped with fog lights, use those too. When driving in fog, it’s very important to stay visible to others.
High Beams Off
Never use your high-beam lights in foggy conditions. Using high beam lights causes glare, making it more difficult for you to see what’s ahead of you on the road. You may feel that your low beam headlights are doing the same thing, but again, keep them on. It’s the best way for you to be seen.
Watch Your Distance
Leave plenty of distance between you and the vehicle in front of you to account for sudden stops or changes in the traffic pattern. Most drivers tend to “bunch up” during foggy conditions because they feel it’s easier to see. Driving in fog is scary, but now is not the time to follow too close. That’s one of the big reasons massive pile-up’s occur.
If You Need To Stop
Sometimes, foggy conditions become too thick to drive safely. If you find that you’re exceeding your comfort zone, it might be best to stop until the fog lifts. Just remember – this is an extremely dangerous situation! If you can’t see, either can anyone else. Try to get as far off the road as possible. Pull into a driveway, parking lot, rest area, side street, or any other place where you can get away from heavy traffic flow. But if the roadway shoulder is your only option, pull way over. Go into the grass if necessary. If there’s a curb, drive over it and park on the other side of the curb. Stay buckled up and turn your lights off! If you leave your lights on, people might think you are driving on the roadway and rear-end you. Make sure your foot is off the brake pedal, and do not use your flashers. Keep all your lights off. If there is shelter nearby, try to get there quickly. Otherwise, stay in your car and stay buckled up.
Under most “normal” weather conditions, dense fog is temporary. Normally, you will encounter small patches of dense fog on mountain valleys, peaks, near moist open fields, and near bodies of water such as streams, rivers, and lakes. When the atmosphere is especially humid, you may even get patches of fog that seem to wander from place to place. During the worst conditions, normally occurring at night or during early morning hours, the fog may be very dense and cover a span of many miles. When fog warnings or advisories are issued, simply do not drive. Stay safe.
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