How to Drive Safely in the Misty Weather
Tips for Driving in Dense Mist
Misty weather is some of the most difficult to drive in. After all, it can shrink your visibility to one quarter of a mile or even less—that means you’re often barely able to see what’s happening directly in front of your car. When there’s dense mist, it’s best to avoid driving if you can. But dense mist typically doesn’t lift until late morning or afternoon, and if you find that you just have to drive in it (to get to school, work or somewhere else important), then be sure to follow these tips to keep yourself safe.
Don’t Use Your High Beams
Many drivers mistakenly believe that using their high-beams will help them see better in the mist. The truth is, using the brighter lights causes a “white wall” effect—the light reflects off the mist and makes it even harder to see.
It goes without saying that you can’t drive at the same speed when it’s misty as you can on a perfectly clear day. Reduce your speed, and be sure to keep plenty of distance between you and the car in front of you. Mist can play tricks on your eyes and make it seem like you’re driver slower than you really are, so keep an eye on your speedometer to monitor how fast you’re going.
Roll Your Window Down Slightly
When you’re driving in the mist, roll down your driver’s side window a bit. It’ll help you hear what’s going on around you, and when you can’t see that well, that’s a huge help. You’ll be able to tell where other cars are in relation to you, and these audible cues will make your trip easier.
Use the Road as a Guide
It can be tempting to use the vehicle in front of you as a visual guide, and to follow their lead. But doing so is dangerous, since they may decide to slam on their brakes or swerve unexpectedly. If you need a guide of some sort, use the right edge of the road or roadside reflectors.
Utilize Windshield Wipers and the Defroster
Because there will be a lot of moisture in the air, you may need to use your windshield wipers, as well as your defroster, to keep your windshield clear. It’s important that you maximize your visibility so you have the best possible shot at seeing your surroundings.
Try to Stay Put
Stay in your lane as long as possible. When driving in bad weather, it’s best to avoid changing lanes or passing other cars. It can be frustrating when everyone’s moving slower and you need to get someplace, but driving erratically when visibility is poor is never a good idea.
Turn Off Your Lights If You Pull Over
If you need to get off the road, don’t leave your lights on—other drivers may wrongly assume that you are in a moving lane if they see your taillights. Turn them off after you have safely left the road to prevent a collision from occurring.
Got questions about driving in other bad weather conditions? Check out our pages on How to Drive in the Rain and How to Drive in the Snow.