Monday 1 December 2014

How to drive safely in foggy conditions

Outbreaks of mist and fog are a common occurrence during the British wintertime, but they can make driving conditions very challenging.  Reduced visibility causes hazardous conditions and nervous drivers can compound the problem.  Here is some advice to help you stay safe when travelling in foggy conditions:

Use your lights wisely

fog, road, winter
When driving in misty or foggy conditions you should use dipped headlights – not full beam as this will impair your visibility further.  You should only switch on your fog lights if visibility is less than 100 metres and remember to switch them back off again once visibility improves.  Drive at a speed you can comfortably stop at, given how far you can see.  If visibility is really poor you can wind down your windows at junctions to enable you to listen for traffic that you might not be able to see. 

Keep your windows clear

Damp, foggy conditions can cause your car windows to mist up, which can further reduce your visibility.  Use your wipers, heater and air conditioning to clear the screens before you drive off.  Keeping your windows and wing mirrors clean means they will be less likely to mist up, so this is one good reason to clean your car regularly!
You’ll also find that fog causes moisture to sit on the windscreen so you will need to clear this off with the wipers at regular intervals.  If the fog is freezing don’t use your windscreen washers unless they have non-freezing washer fluid in or your screen will ice over. 

mechanic checking tyre tread, winter checkBe prepared

When driving in the fog it is best to assume a steady pace as this will ensure you can slow down gradually, rather than suddenly which could cause the car behind you to run into you.  Fog patches will be of varying densities so you need to be prepared to slow down if the situation appears to be getting worse.  Equally, you should increase your speed when conditions improve, but only when the road has cleared significantly and it is safe to do so.

Keep your eyes peeled

Extra caution needs to be taken when driving in foggy conditions as pedestrians and cyclists may be extremely difficult to see.  The best course of action is to slow down, particularly in urban areas, to ensure you have time to stop.

Exercise caution on the Motorway

The movement of vehicles on busy roads such as motorways can temporarily cause the fog to clear, or at least look like it is clearing.  The driver at the front of the queue, however, may be faced with dense fog, so don’t be in a rush to overtake as you may find conditions are much worse further up the road.

Be seen when stopping

If you do have to stop, perhaps to wait for help to arrive, make sure you and your car are visible to other road users.  Put the car lights on, using hazards and display a red triangle if you break down on roads other than the motorways.  Wear a high visibility jacket as it will enable you to be seen by other motorists.
We hope the weather won’t be too harsh this winter but by reading our tips you can be prepared and safe whatever the driving conditions.  If you are worried about how your car will cope in the winter you can use our website to find a reliable garage in your area and book in for a Winter Check.

1 comment:

Mike @ GP Autos said...

The key to keeping your car in good condition as it gets older is maintenance. That includes everything from washing it regularly to ensure it remains free from caked-on grime, to more involved jobs that you might prefer to leave to the experts, such as getting it serviced every year.