Driving in the fog or mist makes operating a vehicle challenging for even the most experienced drivers. While most associate treacherous driving with heavy rains or traffic, fog or mist can be just as dangerous. These weather conditions limit the visibility of drivers, which in turn increases the likelihood of an accident. The U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway System estimates 3% of all weather-related crashes are caused by driving in fog or mist.
The good news is, there are extra precautions you can take if you find yourself in this situation that can help you navigate these obstacles as smoothly as possible.
1. Use-Low Beam Lights
It may be natural to assume if your visibility is limited, then keeping your high-beam headlights on should make it easier to see. Actually, the opposite is true. High-beams cause serious difficulty by causing significant glare on the roads. Glaring conditions make it much harder for drivers to see what's ahead of them on the road.
Instead, keep your low-beam headlights or fog lights on. It not only makes it easier for you to see, but it also makes it easier for other drivers who are passing you.
2. Slow Down
If driving conditions are foggy or misty, give yourself extra time to get to your destination. Speeding and fog (or mist) are not a good combination. By taking your time, you're making the conditions safer for you and other drivers. You should also avoid using the cruise control feature when it's foggy. This way, you'll maintain more control over your vehicle.
3. Leave Plenty of Room Between You and Other Vehicles
Because of the reduced visibility, you will want to leave extra room between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you. This gives you more time to react in case the vehicle in front of you suddenly stops or if you have to make a sudden change while driving. Instead of the normal two-second count for distance, give yourself five seconds and add extra distance for safety.
4. Use the Right Edge of the Road as a Guide
Instead of focusing on the center line, use the right edge of the road as the guide for your vehicle. This will possibly keep you from drifting into the other lane. You can also use roadside reflectors as a guide when you are driving through the various twists and turns.
5. Minimize Distractions
In order to minimize distractions, turn your stereo off and put your phone as far away as possible. The roadways always deserve your full attention, but especially when it's foggy or misty out. If you're worried you'll be too tempted to check your phone even while driving in these obstacles, go ahead and put the phone tucked away, such as in the glove compartment, to be on the safe side.
6. Use Wipers and Defrost
Fog and misty conditions create extra moisture in the air naturally. Using your windshield wipers and the defrost button will not only reduce the amount of moisture on your windshield but also reduce glare. Fog and mist reduce your visibility which means you should use any measure you can to see as clearly as possible while driving.
While driving in the fog and mist may seem like added stress, following these simple tips can help you stay focused on the road ahead despite the tough conditions. If you want to learn more safety tips like these, and others, to help you become an even safer driver, consider enrolling in one of our defensive driving classes.