A Guide to Driving Safely in Foggy Conditions
Fog is one of the most challenging driving conditions to encounter as it can dramatically reduce your visibility and anticipation of what’s further down the road. As such, driving in foggy conditions requires you to drive slow, calm and most importantly alert.
With the latest state-of-the-art technology being fitted in cars such as automated headlights it can be far too easy to rely on these in times of crisis. However, it’s important you understand the basics to keep yourself and others safe on the road.
We’ve put together a guide to help our drivers stay safe when driving in foggy conditions.
Why Is Driving in Fog So Dangerous?
Much like driving in the dark, driving in fog can throw a spanner in the works of what would otherwise be smooth sailing.
The majority of accidents caused by fog are due to a lack of visibility coupled with drivers not slowing down, this can cause not only a small accident but a pile-up if not contained.
Fog has been the culprit of many severe accidents over the years, but the most notable of which was the M42 160-vehicle pileup in 1997. With three deaths and over 60 people injured, this is a prime example of how dangerous foggy conditions can be to drivers, especially when not paying attention.
Before You Set-off
While the majority of precautions to aid driving safely in foggy conditions is down to your actions in the moment, you can also prepare for this beforehand.
These are some of the checks you should be making before setting off in foggy conditions:
- Check the weather conditions - a simple weather forecast check can highlight severe weather conditions that may affect your journey, similarly, you can check the Met Office weather warnings
- Plan your route. Certain areas are prone to having particularly foggy conditions such as at high altitude, or low altitude near lakes and rivers etc.
- Keep your car in optimal condition (maintain your car engine, wipers, tyres, engine oil, coolant, battery, brakes etc.)
- Make sure you know where your fog lights are before you set off
Top Safety Tips for Driving in Fog
Whether you’re a new driver or a veteran, foggy conditions are unsettling to the best of us and just as dangerous. So remember to be cautious and alert of your surroundings, yourself and other vehicles to remain safe when driving in fog.
Here are our seven top tips for driving safely in foggy conditions.
1) Reduce Your Distance Between the Vehicle in Front
As much as driving behind a slow vehicle can be infuriating and induce some serious road rage, there are certain situations where driving slowly is necessary - driving in fog is one of them.
Instead of leaving the usual two-second gap between the vehicle in front, it’s sensible to leave a three or more second gap in case they are to suddenly slam on the breaks or do something equally unexpected.
Fog can also be very misleading, often giving the illusion that you are driving slower than you are, so use your speedometer and surroundings where possible to judge this.
2) Slow Down (Safely)
While fog has no impact on your braking ability, it does however severely reduce your visibility, limiting what you can see and reducing the time in which you have to react. When foggy conditions are concerned, the slower the better.
It’s also important to slow down safely and appropriately, this doesn’t mean you should slam on your brakes to a sudden halt. As you would normally, before slowing down check your mirrors and see if there are any vehicles behind you and if so, brake appropriately.
3) Avoid Full Beam
While your full beam can seem a solid option when you are driving in the dark, putting your full beam on in fog will only proceed to make your situation worse.
The light from your full beam will be reflected by the fog and make the wall thicker - which isn’t what you want. Instead, you should use your fog lights in foggy conditions (as and when needed).
4) Use Your Fog Lights
This probably goes without saying, but in foggy conditions, this would be the time to wipe the dust off your fog lights and put them into good use. Despite how rarely they are used, they are imperative and possibly life-saving in foggy conditions.
The main issue with fog lights is because they are so rarely used it can be difficult to even find them to turn them on. It differs from model to model, but your fog lights can often be found on the dashboard, on the steering wheel stalk or next to where your usual light options are.
Your front fog lights will show as a lamp on the right, pointing to the left with a wavy line and diagonal lines struck through it. Your rear fog lights are opposite with the lamp on the left side, pointing right and instead of diagonal lines, they are horizontal.
5) Be Careful of Glare
The foggy weather conditions can cause condensation to build on both the inside and outside of your car, hindering your vision even further. Which when combined with either your own lights reflected back at you or other vehicles lights can cause glare.
To minimise this as much as possible, it’s best to use a mixture of your wipers and your heaters demist setting to tackle condensation.
6) Pull Over if You Need To
If the foggy conditions are really bad it may be sensible to pull over to the side of the road and wait it out. While it may result in you being late to your destination, your safety and wellbeing justly outweigh the possibility of being late to work or wherever you’re headed.
Just remember, if you are at the side of the road other vehicles still driving on the road may not see you if you are causing an obstruction. Make sure to pull in as much as possible, or find a layby if there is one nearby.
7) Remember to Turn Off Your Fog Lights
The Highway Code rules 226 to 237 cover driving in fog states that you MUST use your headlights when visibility is severely reduced, generally when you cannot see more than 100 metres (or 328 feet). Rule 236 also states you MUST NOT use your fog lights when visibility is not hindered as it is illegal, so remember to turn them off when you no longer need them.
Turning your fog lights off when not in foggy conditions is just as important as turning them on. Driving in foggy conditions can be unsettling and can issue a sigh of relief when it’s over, however, it’s just as paramount to prepare back for driving in a normal setting.
Looking for Affordable Leasing?
If you’re ready to look for a new safety-orientated vehicle, equipped to tackle foggy conditions, look no further. At Pendle Leasing, we have over 50 years of experience to offer the best car leasing deals in the market.
Drive safely and in style with our range of affordable lease cars. From the Peugeot 208 to the Renault Captur and Hyundai Kona, we have a number of brand new cars that won’t break the bank and keep you safe.
If you’d like to find out more about what we do or are interested in one of our vehicles, simply contact us here or call us on 01277 549500 to speak to one of our personal advisors.