Driving in the fog is a unique experience and it’s far more dangerous to drive in the thick, soupy stuff than you likely realize. According to the Federal Highway Administration’s latest numbers, over 38,700 vehicle crashes occur annually as a result of the fog. Over 600 people killed every year because of it, and 16,300 people are injured.
So the next time a fog settles over your community, and you have to go driving out in it, please think about these driving tips.
Turn on your low beams. You would think since you can’t see, like, anything, that you’d want to turn on your headlights to the brightest setting possible. But fog is made up of little drops of water, and when you turn on your lights to the brightest setting, the light is reflected on the water. In other words, the light is diffused in a way that can make it harder for other drivers – and yourself – to see. But the low-beam lights will cut down on the reflection. Even if it doesn’t seem to help you see better, your low-beam lights will make it easier for other drivers to see you.
Don’t tailgate. This isn’t the time to drive close to another car (not that there’s really ever a time for that). The car in front of you may slam on their brakes because they didn’t see something until the last minute – which means you’ll be slamming on your brakes, or worse, if you don’t seem what’s happening in time, slamming into the car ahead of you.
Don’t worry about the driver behind you. Somebody else is following you too closely? It can be nerve-wracking to have someone close behind – and tempting to speed up, so you can get away from the annoying vehicle. But don’t. If the fog is really bad, driving fast into nothingness is a good way to get into the accident you were trying to avoid.
Focus on the road. In other words, and we probably don’t need to tell you this, but put the phone away. It’s never a good idea to text and drive. It’s beyond unsafe if you’re driving in fog, though. And, of course, tell your kids to be quiet. And this isn’t the time to find a new song on the radio.
Remember your hazard lights. That is, if you end up pulling off at the side of the road, at any point, to wait out the fog, make sure you’re as far away from the road as possible – and then turn on those hazard lights. The idea is to make sure you’re seen, so a car coming up behind you doesn’t drive into you.
Drive with clear windows. Sure, that sounds obvious, but if it’s been snowing or ice is stuck to your window, you know how easy it can be to think, “I’ll clear a few little spots, and then I’ll be able to see well enough, and the car will warm up later, and soon, I’ll be able to see everywhere out my window.” Um, don’t do that. Don’t drive like that without fog, of course, but definitely don’t when there is fog.
If you need the defroster, turn it on, and hopefully you have some strong, working windshield wipers to keep everything off your windshield. If you’ve purchased any wipers and need help installing them, or you feel like you need better headlights, or perhaps your defroster isn’t operating properly, you can get help from your friends at Milex Complete Auto Care.
And remember, the next time a gray blanket covers the area, take extra precautions before you leave. That is, if you have to go out at all. If it makes sense to stay put, please do. As you can imagine, the safest way to drive in fog is to not drive in fog.