Driving in Fog: Your Guide to Stay Safe
As the air cools, the water vapour manifests as fog in the air and dew on the ground.
While fog might be nice for a stroll or scenic hike, driving in it can be hazardous. If you can’t avoid driving in fog, here’s a guide to navigating this phenomenon safely:
The night before your commute or a long drive, take a minute or two to check the weather. While weather is unpredictable, knowing that challenging conditions may be ahead allows you to leave home a little earlier.
Use Low Beams or Fog Lights
While using your high beams might seem like the right idea, the light will reflect off of the water droplets, making it even more difficult to see. We recommend using low beams during a foggy drive. Some vehicles come equipped with fog lights – smaller lights that can usually be found on the lower part of the bumper. Unlike regular lights, fog lights use yellow lenses and are aimed at the ground ahead. Experiment with using the fog lights, low beams, or both and see which option works best.
It should go without saying that when the fog rolls around, you should slow down! When you find yourself driving in fog, gradually reduce your speed, and be sure to avoid sharp stops. Because visibility is greatly reduced in foggy conditions, you simply need more time to make driving decisions. Keep a bigger distance between your car and those around you. Maintain at least a five second gap between your vehicle and the one in front of you (if you can see it).
Keep an eye on the speedometer. Remember: fog often masks many of the reference points you’d normally use to gauge your speed. Even if you feel you’re “in the clear” and have passed through the fog, don’t accelerate dramatically, as there could be further foggy patches ahead. Essentially, try not to surprise any of the drivers around you. In the realm of driving, it’s always better to be predictable – especially when conditions aren’t ideal.
Pick a Side
If you’re driving on a larger highway, stick to either the leftmost or rightmost lane. This way, you can use the solid pavement line as a marker, ensuring your car remains in the centre of the lane, so that you can hug any curves in the road. This is a trick that also comes in handy when driving during torrential rain.
Foggy weather necessitates extra focused driving. The frills that usually imbue your cruise with delight – like that blasting radio and friendly chatter chatter – need to be put on hold during this time. When you’re driving through fog, it’s extra important to remember your defensive driving skills.
You can keep yourself alert by moving your eyes every six to eight seconds – checking the rear mirror, side mirrors and scanning the front window. Opening a window can be helpful, allowing you to hear other cars.
If the fog is so thick that even seeing pavement lines is a challenge, or you simply don’t feel safe or comfortable driving, don’t be ashamed about pulling over. Turn your four-way lights on so that passing cars can see you as they pass. Waiting until the fog clears can be a little frustrating, but peace of mind and safety trump impatience when driving.
Beware of Black Ice
Sometimes fog can freeze once it makes contact with cold surfaces like the road, resulting in dangerous black ice. Black ice is very difficult to see, and your car may hydroplane upon making contact with it.
If the fog has resulted in black ice, make sure you follow the guidelines for driving on black ice – make sure your car is equipped with four winter tires, watch for wet-looking, dark, glossy patches on the road, and above all, slow down.
What’s more, it’s important to be versed in skid control and prevention techniques so that you can safely navigate any slippery driving situations.
Ask For Help
Don’t be shy to ask for help! Ask your passengers to be your eyes and ears. They can help spot other cars or upcoming obstacles, and help you to navigate those foggy roads so you can get to your destination safely.