As winter approaches we’re more likely to experience foggy conditions which can severely reduce road visibility even in well-lit city areas. Driving through fog can be an unnerving experience particularly at night, but there are a few things you can do to safely get through the mist.
Make sure you have time to react as other cars or hazards appear through the fog. If you have to slow down, do so carefully to avoid being rear-ended. If you can see a car in front try and maintain at least a two-second gap remembering it’s more likely to stop or slow down than during normal conditions. There may be cars close behind that you can’t see so drive at a constant speed where possible and avoid changing lanes.
Stop if you have to
If you’re forced to drive ridiculously slow there’s a bigger risk of being hit from behind by more confident or careless drivers so consider pulling over and parking in a safe spot away from the road’s edge.
Don’t use high-beam headlights or driving lights in fog as the light will reflect off the water droplets making visibility even worse. Use the normal low-beam setting and fog lights if fitted. Because they’re mounted low, fog lights help you see more of the road surface but don’t actually penetrate the fog. Don’t forget to turn fog lights off when the fog clears as it’s an offence to drive with them on during clear and dry conditions.
Even if you can negotiate daytime fog without lights, you should turn your headlights or parking lights on to help other drivers and pedestrians see you. If your car has daytime running lights remember that they only work at the front so turn on your other lights so your car can be spotted sooner from behind.
Fog is made up of water particles in the air which will gather on your windscreen and further reduce your concentration, so use your windscreen wipers intermittently.
Driving through fog requires a lot more concentration on the immediate road ahead and for any hazards on the side. To help you concentrate, avoid distractions such as a loud radio or chatting with passengers. If you are driving through fog for a long time, consider taking frequent breaks, making sure you park somewhere safe away from the road.
Fog means fewer visual references to help gauge your sense of speed, making you appear to be travelling slower than you actually are. Like a pilot in cloud, use your instruments to help maintain a safe and constant speed.