Adverse weather conditions are always a challenge for the drivers and fog is probably the worst and one of the most dangerous ones that a driver can face.
Even the most experienced drivers can find it challenging to drive through foggy streets. Fog is the reason behind quite a high number of road accidents and pile-ups in Ireland in a year and it is necessary to pay complete attention on the road while driving through the fog.
The best way to deal with driving in the fog is to stay off the road until the weather clears.
But in certain case you have to move outdoors even in adverse weather conditions and following some basic safety tips can make a big difference in such cases. Even the most experienced driver can overlook a detail that can make a big impact in a foggy weather.
What should a driver do when driving in dense fog?
While there are various steps that can be taken to ensure safety while driving in the fog, we will look at some of the most effective ones which can also be some of the most simple. We will start with one of the most fundamental things that can be followed during fog.
Check the weather
When you have to drive out check the weather report in advance. Usually fog passes away in a short time, so you can wait it out instead of taking the risk to drive out in low visibility. There are plenty of apps and websites which offer reliable data about the local weather. It is also important to decide whether taking the risk of driving in the fog is worth the reason. You can postpone your journey as per the weather reports and even cancel the drive if it is not urgent.
Make sure that you keep enough distance between yourself and the car ahead of you while driving in the fog. With decreased visibility, you braking time becomes shorter and the extra distance can provide you with the added advantage. It may slow you down to some extent but a little extra time is not more important than your safety. Keep in mind that tailing the other car’s rear lights can be a dangerous practice as it will narrow your vision and provide a false sense of security.
Slow speed is the best
You may think that slowing down while driving in the fog is an obvious point but fog can obscure vision which can make many drivers lose the right sense of speed. This is often due to the disorientation caused by the fog and also due to the lack of any object on the road to focus on.
So even if you are in a hurry, slow down to ensure that you have plenty of time to apply the brakes in case you need to do so. In some cases, parked cars are very difficult to see through the fog until the last moment as they do not have their lights on. So it is best that you slow down to ensure your safety in the fog.
Make sure that your headlights are on while driving in the fog. Your car can have an automatic headlight that turns on in the dark but the light conditions in a foggy environment may not trigger the right response from the system. So double check to make sure that the headlights are on and also beware of other drivers who are not using their headlights.
In addition, make sure the headlights are in the dipped beam setting to provide the best visibility and also to allow the other drivers to see you. Since fog reflects light, using the brightest headlight setting will reduce the overall visibility and make driving even more difficult. So the dipped beam is the best option to counteract the foggy conditions.
Responsible use of fog lights
One of the most common issue that drivers face in the fog is the incorrect use of fog lights from other drivers. If you do not know the right use of fog lights, check your vehicle’s manual to learn about the correct settings. Front and rear fog lights act differently, so make sure that you know the difference between them while driving. In case the street lights are present, you probably will not have to use your fog lights.
Make sure that you use your car’s fog lights only when necessary as it may blind the drivers behind you. When you are out of the fog, make sure that you turn off the fog light as well as the headlight so that you do not dazzle the other drivers. Remember that your insurers will not pay you for an accident in the fog if it is found that you were driving without the fog lights turned on.
Focus on the road
When you ask the question of what should a driver do when driving in dense fog, the perfect one word answer will be -focus. Driving through familiar roads everyday blunts the attention level of any driver but while in the fog, such a thing can be dangerous. During a drive through the fog, you need to move from cruise control to manual control for the sake of safety. Follow the line markings on the lane to ensure that you stay on the right lane.
Avoid multi-tasking while driving in the fog to concentrate on driving. Stop chatting with your co-passenger, do not focus on the messages on the mobile phone and turn down the radio so that it does not distract you. When the visibility is down to a few metres you need to quieten down the ambience of the car and focus on the road with the best of your ability. If the fog is thick, you can roll down the window and pay attention to the sounds of the road.
If it is risky, stop
If you are finding it extremely difficult to navigate through the fog, especially during the night hours, you can stop the car instead of compromising your safety by moving ahead. There is a high chance that the fog will pass away in a short while and a few minutes are not worth risking your life.
When you feel that driving is dangerous, pull over to the furthest side of the road which will be the safest zone. Immediately turn off all other lights except the hazard light and engage the emergency brakes. If you are lucky to find a service station, it will be best to wait out the fog while enjoying a drink. In case you are driving through fog at night, you may need to take short breaks at regular intervals to rest your eyes.
The fog can cause condensation on the glass surfaces inside the car and hence it is important to turn on the heater or the defrost function. This will help in reducing the high level of humidity that a foggy weather brings about and remove the condensation on the glass which can affect the visibility to a great extent. Do not get distracted by the action of wiping the windscreen as it will only smear the glass and remove your focus from the road which can be dangerous.
Hopefully this article will answer your question of what should a driver do when driving in dense fog? Fog is not something to be taken lightly when you are driving and even experienced drivers need to stay cautious while driving through foggy terrains. So make sure that you stay alert and drive safely when the fog hits.
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