Clear Thinking Helps on Foggy Days
by Jonathan Clensy |
posted 22 February 2017
More motorists lose their lives or are seriously injured during the winter months than at any other time of the year. While practicalities – good tyres, enough fuel, adequate anti-freeze and a clear windscreen are essential to check before setting off, winter motorists should also think about their driving technique.
Fog can be one of the most frustrating conditions to deal with, especially when other motorists often seem to continue driving as though it was a bright, mid-summer’s afternoon. But to help gear up and face the challenge of driving in foggy conditions, here are some practical suggestions.
To start, make full use of windscreen wipers and de-mister systems. When you see fog, turn on your headlights immediately, but keep the beam dipped. And don’t forget to keep your headlights clean, up to 50 per cent of light can be lost through having dirty headlamps.
Don't dazzle other drivers with fog lamps. Only use high intensity rear fog lamps in extreme conditions (when visibility is below 100m). It is an offence to use fog lamps at any other time.
It sounds obvious to say it, but many drivers ignore it - slow down and keep your distance. In thick fog, if you can see the rear lights of the vehicle ahead you're probably too close. Don't accelerate to move away from a vehicle that is too close behind either, in fact you should do the opposite and slow down further to give them time to react if you have to stop suddenly.
On motorways, abide by the warning lights on the roadside. If they're on, don't speed up even if visibility improves, remember fog is often patchy and drifts. If you have to slow down suddenly to a stop, using your hazard lights to warn following traffic is a good idea.
When approaching a junction, opening your window and turning off your radio or music will help you hear the approach of other traffic. If it’s needed, using your horn to warn other traffic of your presence is worth remembering too.
In difficult conditions, there is a need to think things through a little. But doing so can lower the risk of an accident that will injure both yourself and possibly other road users too.