If asked to name the most dangerous conditions for driving, many people would likely think of blizzards or of driving on the thin layer of frozen moisture known as black ice. However, as the Defensive Driving website notes, fog is one of the most dangerous weather conditions for drivers. Fog can range from a light mist to a dense haze which can cause visibility to be obscured. Due to the low visibility and increased chance of collision, The Ontario Ministry of Transportation advises to avoid driving in fog whenever possible. Drivers should always check weather forecasts for fog warnings when planning a trip and in some instances, delaying the trip until the fog clears may be your best option.
If that is not possible or you get caught driving in fog, there are a number of tips you should follow for driving safely in fog:
1. Check your mirrors and slow down gradually
Decreased visibility means longer braking times. You can never be sure how quickly the car in front of you may react, so the earlier you can start to tap your brakes, the better! The brake lights will also alert drivers behind you that you are slowing down and that you won’t catch them by surprise with a sudden stop.
2. Increase the distance between yourself and others on the road
Fog can limit visibility anywhere from a few feet to a kilometre; make sure you have enough stopping distance between yourself and the car in front of you.
3. Use your low-beam headlights
Believe it or not, low beams are better for driving in fog in urban areas. If you have fog lights on your vehicle, use them in addition to your low beams.
4. Limit distractions
Distracted driving can cause potential safety issues while driving, though more so in poor visibility conditions. Turn down the music, put away your phone and if possible, let someone in the car navigate the GPS or Google Maps.
5. If you decide to wait the fog out, pull over as far as you can
If driving conditions become more difficult than you are comfortable driving in, it is always best to pull off the road and turn on your hazard lights. Remember, everyone is having trouble seeing, so be extra cautious and let other drivers know where you are. If possible, pulling over into a gas station or designated rest stop are great alternatives.
6. Watch for emergency vehicles
Listen and look out for emergency vehicles that may be approaching from behind or stopped in front of you.
7. Be aware of people and wildlife on the road
In rural areas, wildlife can be a hazard while driving in poorly lit stretches of road. This becomes an even greater risk during foggy conditions. Also, be mindful of people that may have exited their cars and are attempting to fix their vehicle or get help.
8. Use your wipers and defogger
These will help to keep your windshield and line of sight as clear as possible.
9. Be patient
While these precautions may slow down your overall travel time, it’s best for your safety and insurance rates to be more cautious.
We may not be able to control the weather, but we can adapt our style of driving to ensure we reach our destination safely during fog conditions. For more information about driving in fog conditions and your auto insurance coverage, contact isure today.