Thick blankets of fog can be a cause for concern for both new and experienced drivers. Whether it’s first thing in the morning or during night-time drives, the reduced visibility caused by fog makes for some potentially hazardous conditions.
Combined with the cold - along with snow and ice - foggy weather reduces stopping times, so it’s essential that you give the road your full attention. By remaining focused on what’s ahead, you’ll be in a better position to navigate foggy conditions.
Here, we’re showing you what you can do to stay safe when things get misty on the roads this winter.
When you’re driving in fog, it might feel like you’re moving at a snail’s pace. But don’t be tempted to speed up when your visibility’s reduced; fog can cause you to see objects later than you normally would. That means you’ll have less time to react to other vehicles or bends on the road.
By slowing down, you’ll have more time to avoid risks. Just be sure to reduce speed gently rather than stomping on the brakes. That way, traffic behind you will have plenty of time to react.
Keeping your headlights on, no matter the time of day, will improve visibility for everyone on the road. You’ll be able to see better in front of you, while drivers to your rear will be able to see your rear lights and brake lights.
And while it might seem like turning your high beams on would be the better option, we’d advise against it. Since fog consists of tiny water droplets that spread and reflect light, your high beams create glare and will only make it harder for you to see what’s ahead.
Keep in mind, if your car is a new model that has automatic headlights, then you should still turn on your lights manually. This is because automatic headlights only turn on when it’s dark enough outside; fog may not be sufficient enough to trigger the automatic sensor.
Your fog lights, on the other hand, are an absolute necessity and should be switched on as soon as you hit fog. Not only will they increase your visibility when on the road, your insurance could be invalidated if you don’t use them in fog and have an accident.
Be on the safe side and switch them on, but be sure to switch them off when the fog has cleared.
Having difficulty finding your fog lights? They might be labelled as something else or integrated into other parts of the car. For instance, newer cars can have fog lights integrated into their headlamps and rear lamps. Other cars may have what are called ‘all weather lights’ or similar. Whatever your car has, be sure to turn them on when parked so you can test how bright they are.
After nearly two years of the pandemic, you’ll be used to keeping your distance from others by now – and should apply the same rules when you’re driving in fog. A three-second gap between your car and the one in front should be enough to give yourself time to react if they suddenly slow down or make an unexpected move.
Fog can create a layer of condensation on the inside of your windows, clouding your visibility even further. Along with using your windscreen wipers and using the heater to help demist the inside, you can find further tips on how to deal with car condensation at this page here.
The car in front’s rear lights might seem like a useful way finder in the fog, but this can stop you from focusing on other things that might be happening on the road. And if you’re too busy concentrating on their lights and they come off the road, you may end up joining them.
If visibility is especially poor, then try opening your side window to listen out for other cars before pulling away at junctions.
Driving in a noisy car when it’s foggy is a sure-fire way to distract you from focusing on the road ahead. To maintain total focus, ditch the multi-tasking. You should turn off the radio (or at least keep it quiet), turn off your phone and ask any passengers to be quiet – we all know how frustrating backseat drivers can be, after all! Anything that has the capacity to distract you when driving should be minimised as much as possible.
The best way to deal with fog is to avoid it all together. Much like driving in snow, heavy rain, or wind, you should only drive if you really must. If you can delay your journey or re-arrange it for another day once the fog has passed, then we’d highly recommend it.
And if things get worse while you’re already on your way, then you can always stop off at a service station or café to wait for the poor conditions to pass.