Driving in fog can test your nerves and your skills. The reduced visibility can make it incredibly challenging, especially in an unfamiliar area.
You may not plan to experience the weather phenomenon during an adventure, but knowing how to respond safely is essential. Unfortunately, you could be in over your head if you’re not careful.
Today, we’re sharing the worst mistakes you can make when the haze rolls in.
The Dangers of Driving in Fog
If you’re a kid, waking up to a blanket of fog out your window can be exciting. There’s something eerie and magical about it. It can transform a familiar place into another world. However, being behind the wheel in these conditions can be incredibly dangerous for adults.
The threat level depends on the thickness of the haze. It can severely limit your ability to see cars, signs, and any hazards on the road. As a result, everyone will have a longer reaction time. They may also require a more stopping distance if the pavement is wet. This combination can cause accidents when people are surprised by a vehicle they couldn’t see a split second ago.
Fog-related accidents account for more than 31,000 crashes each year. These incidents account for 11,000 injuries and approximately 500 deaths. This makes it one of the deadliest weather phenomena in the United States. Unless you want to be a statistic, we recommend knowing how to drive safely in these conditions.
Pro Tip: Never commit any of these 7 Deadly Sins of Interstate Driving.
7 Sins of Driving in Fog
If you want to stay safe, there are certain things you should avoid doing while behind the wheel. More importantly, we’ll cover what you should do if things get hazy.
#1 Using High Beams
Your brights can increase visibility when operating a vehicle at night. However, they don’t have the same effect when driving in fog. Using your high beams during these weather conditions can make it substantially worse. The water particles in the air reflect light and make it harder to see through the cloud.
To maximize your safety, you should avoid using your brights. Your regular headlights will reduce glare and provide you with better visibility. In addition, if your vehicle has fog lights, now’s the time to use them. Their beam typically shines wide and flat onto the ground ahead of you.
It’s worth shifting between a combination of lighting to figure out which works best in each situation. Depending on the day, haze can be in short bursts or blanket an entire area. Stay alert even after you exit a patch of mist because you never know the next one will appear.
#2 Driving too Close in Fog
The wet pavement and reduced visibility will result in a slower reaction time. This is true for you and other drivers, which means you want to keep your distance. You should increase the two seconds you usually keep between you and any other vehicles. You’ll want to make it closer to five seconds during foggy situations.
If you need to stop suddenly, you’ll need every second and inch you can get to do so safely. You could rear-end the car in front of you if you follow too closely. This could start a chain reaction or a vehicle pileup in some instances. Do yourself a favor and avoid driving too close.
#3 Initiating Cruise Control
Cruise control is a convenient feature to have for a vehicle. However, it’s best to save it for ideal circumstances. A foggy road isn’t exactly what we would consider perfect driving conditions. You want complete control over your vehicle when you have poor visibility.
The second you let off the pedal, the car will slow. This split second of slowing down the vehicle could mean the difference between hitting an object and not. Save cruise control for the days when the road is dry and you can see ahead of you. It’s better to be safe than sorry when navigating a car.
#4 Speeding Through Fog
If you have a lead foot, you won’t like what we’re about to say. Speeding is one of the worst things you can do when driving in fog. You further reduce your reaction time and make it harder to see other cars and for them to see you.
These days, everyone is in a hurry. But imagine how long it’ll take you if you’re involved in an accident or end up in a ditch on the side of the road. Not only will you be late, but you’ll have an expensive repair bill and insurance claim to worry about. And that doesn’t even touch what would happen if someone gets seriously hurt.
#5 Having a Dirty Windshield
When driving in fog, water vapor collects on the windshield. This can make it very difficult to see out of the window. If you want to avoid committing this sin, keep your windshield clean. Regularly use your windshield wipers to keep the moisture down to prevent any potential glares.
In addition, it’s a good idea to regularly wipe down your windshield with a cloth. It’s easy to miss how dirty it gets until you’re thrown into this situation. Save yourself the trouble and use some glass cleaner and a soft cloth. Doing so can help increase your ability to see while cruising in challenging weather conditions.
Pro Tip: Can’t see out your windows? Use these tip on to Easily Prevent Vehicle Windows From Fogging.
#6 Following Other Vehicles
Another sin that you want to avoid is following other vehicles. There’s a chance they’re not paying attention to the road and don’t know where they’re going. You never know if they’re heading straight for a ditch or off the side of a cliff.
If you can’t see far ahead, use the road lines and reflectors as your guide. This can make it easy to judge your position on the road. Don’t be afraid to slow down to make seeing the lines or reflectors easier. Sinning is one thing, but committing multiple sins simultaneously may push your luck.
#7 Going Out to Party
Mother Nature can be frustrating because she doesn’t care about your plans. She does her own thing without regard for birthdays, anniversaries, or bachelorette parties. You may need to cancel your reservations and keep the party at home. This is especially true if you’re planning to drink.
Let’s be clear; there’s never a time when drunk driving is acceptable. But fog only makes it worse. If a haze rolls in and blankets the area, change or reschedule your plans. It’s better to avoid traveling even if you’re sober. Will it be convenient? Likely not. However, sometimes that’s the way the cookie crumbles.
Protect Yourself and Others While Driving in Fog
We like adventures as much as anyone, but traveling safely is crucial for reaching your destination. When a dense haze rolls in, it’s better to wait it out if you can. If you can’t, stay safe.
There’s a good chance you’ve committed one or more deadly sins on our list. If so, it’s time for you to repent and turn from your wicked ways. Ask forgiveness and promise to avoid committing dangerous behaviors while driving in the fog again. If you do, you and others on the road have a better chance of reaching your destination.
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