Driving in Fog - another challenge
If you're out driving in fog, you'll notice that it's much different than anything else you've encountered on the road. Fog is mostly a visibility challenge - and you know how important it is to see around you and where you're headed.
It's also a challenge to be seen by other drivers as well. Whether it's night or day, fog is tough to drive through safely, so I have a few suggestions for you.
Let's look at how fog behaves, and how we need to respond to stay safe behind the wheel.
Fog tends to hang in the air very near the ground, so it's right with you as you drive along on the roads. Fog is influenced by elevation, air temperatures, surface temperatures and humidity in the air, and all of that can change as you drive along.
When driving through fog, the best advice is to:
- Turn on your lights to see and be seen.
- Avoid using your "brights" as they will illuminate a wall of fog in front of you and effectively blind you.
- Be mindful of stopping distances. Don't over-drive the distance that you can see clearly through the fog.
- Slow down or speed up according to the density of the fog, as long as you can stop in time if needs be. If the fog is constantly changing density, I'd pick a safe speed for the most dense fog and try to maintain that speed until you're out of the soup. Otherwise, you'll be playing "slinky" with the rest of the drivers on the road.
- Use 4-way flashers if you have to drive especially slow so you're more conspicuous to other drivers that might come up on you much faster than you're traveling.
- Anticipate stop lights as they don't gradually appear - they tend to "pop out at you" in an instant. If you don't look for them, you'll be into the intersection before you notice the traffic control signal.
- Keep your eyes moving across and through your field of vision to find things like the edge of the road, road markings and other familiar objects. Otherwise, you can fixate on the fog and miss seeing real objects that you'd like to avoid.
Driving in fog at night makes it easier to see other cars and be seen by other drivers, but it can also produce quite a bit of glare if you or the oncoming cars use bright lights. In the absence of artificial lighting, thick fog at night can be very difficult to drive in because sometimes road signs and road markings are difficult to distinguish.
Also, if you're driving in fog during freezing conditions, remember that your ability to see the nature of the road surface will be inhibited, and fog can promote frost on the road surface.
The best advice for driving in fog is don't unless you really have to. It seems that many of the major pileups are generally attributed to drivers who aren't careful while driving in fog. No matter how good you are behind the wheel, there are always many others who aren't, so staying put is a good safe choice.
Done with Driving in Fog, take me back to Safe Driving