Fall Driving Safety Tips: How to Drive in Fog
When we think of weather conditions that are dangerous to drive in, the first things most people think of are the ones that make roadways slippery, like snow, ice, and rain. But since fog reduces visibility, it absolutely should be included in any list of dangerous weather conditions to drive in.
Fog is responsible for tens of thousands of car accidents every year. According to The Weather Channel, the annual averages for fog-related accidents between 2002 and 2012 were 31,385 car accidents, 11,812 injuries, and 511 deaths. To help put that in perspective, that puts the average number of deaths caused by car accidents in foggy weather about on par with the number of people who were killed by tornadoes in 2011.
Some areas tend to get more fog than others, but in a lot of places, fog is a very common occurrence during the fall months. And since fog most frequently occurs in the mornings and evenings, that means a lot of people are on the road during those peak fog times as they head to work or home at the end of the day. If you can’t avoid driving in the fog, here’s what you can do to drive safely.
Use Your Headlights
One of the absolute best things you can do to stay safe in the fog is make sure you have your headlights on. Without your headlights, other drivers on the road will have a much harder time seeing you. Just remember that using your regular low-beam headlights is perfectly fine. A lot of people mistakenly think they need to use their high-beams in the fog, but that can actually make things worse. Since the water particles in the fog can reflect light, the light from high-beams can bounce back into your eyes, making it harder for you to see.
Watch Your Speed
Not only does fog reduce your visibility, it can make it harder to judge how fast you’re moving. In thick fog, it can feel like you’re moving slower than you actually are, so it’s important to keep a close eye on your speedometer. With the limited visibility, you need to slow down so you’ll have more time to react to the things going on around you. Fog also makes it more difficult to see hazards in the road, like wet leaves, patches of black ice, and potholes. If you were to unexpectedly encounter any of those things when you’re going too fast, it could cause you to lose control of your car.
Increase Your Following Distance
Since the fog reduces visibility for everyone, you need to give yourself extra time to react in case another driver has to stop suddenly. Rather than using the standard two to three seconds worth of following distance, increase your following distance to five seconds. Every year, many multi-car accidents happen when drivers follow each other too closely.
Don’t Get Distracted
Distracted driving is extremely dangerous no matter what the weather is like, but it’s a particularly big issue when visibility is low. All of your attention needs to be on the road. Keep the volume on the radio turned down, or better yet, turn it completely off so that you can better hear the other cars around you. If you’re using a GPS system, make sure the destination is programmed in before you leave the house. Put your phone on silent and even if you have your phone connected to a hands-free system, it’s still best to leave it alone while you drive.
Car accidents can happen to anyone, no matter how good of a driver you are. If you’ve been injured in a car accident, contact a car accident lawyer as soon as possible. Having to cope with an injury is upsetting enough and having to deal with insurance companies just makes the whole process even more overwhelming and frustrating. A lawyer will be able to help make sure your case is handled as effectively as possible so that you can get all the compensation you need.