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Tips for Staying Safe While Driving in Fog

Car driving in the fog

As we transition from winter to spring, you may encounter fog on your daily commute or while running errands. Fog occurs when Mother Nature mixes cold air and warm air, causing water droplets or ice crystals to float in the air. Depending on where you live and other factors you may experience it more frequently than others.

Whether you’re a seasoned veteran behind the wheel or a new driver, encountering fog can be stressful. For me, it’s always a strange feeling when I’m on a familiar road, but the fog is so thick I have no idea where I am.

Here are some tips to keep you and your family safe the next time you encounter fog on your journey.

  1. Reduce your speed. If you’re driving in fog it’s critical you slow down. Fog can reduce visibility so much that you can’t see what’s ahead, reducing your reaction time. Also, always keep an eye on your speedometer. Fog can cause disorientation when it comes to location and speed.
  2. Watch the white line. Use the white painted line on the right side of the road as a guide for proper lane positioning. In addition, watch for other roadside indicators such as reflectors and signage.
  3. Rely on your car’s low beam headlights. If driving in fog at night, low beams and fog lights provide the best visibility. If you’re like me, after driving in fog for a while you may doubt yourself and flip on your high beams only to quickly realize they don’t help. Remember to turn on your headlights if you’re driving in daytime fog.
  4. Relax. Staying calm is important when driving in fog. If there’s a car in front of you, be patient. Road rage won’t do anybody a bit of good and could have severe consequences.
  5. Don’t make unnecessary lane changes. Because fog is disorientating, staying in your current lane of traffic is your safest bet. Weaving in and out can be dangerous. If there’s an obstruction in the roadway try and slow down significantly, then check blind spots before moving over.
  6. Turn on your defroster. Maximum visibility is key when driving in poor weather. Using your defroster can keep your windows clear of internal fog. You don’t need it inside and outside. Don’t forget to turn on your windshield wipers as well.
  7. Don’t use cruise control. Like many other weather conditions, using cruise control in fog is dangerous. You simply don’t know what’s ahead. The last thing you need is for cruise control to increase your speed as your going up a hill.
  8. Apply gentle inputs. When it comes to steering and braking, small inputs can be safer and more effective in keeping your car under control. Drastic movements can cause your car to perform unfavorably and dangerously.
  9. Watch for animals. Just like us, animals, such as deer, can become disorientated and end up in the road in front of you. If this happens, apply significant pressure to your brake pedal. While your instinct may be to swerve, don’t do it. Swerving can put you in a more dangerous situation.
  10. Use your hazard lights. If you’re like me, when it’s time to use them you have a challenging time finding the button. There are several important reasons to use your hazard lights. First, they provide more visibility to the cars approaching from the rear. In addition, they can alert other drivers that there’s a reason to be cautious and to slow down. Lastly, if you must pull over on the side of the road it’s critical to turn them on so others can see you. Remember we’re all struggling with visibility.

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West Bend Mutual Insurance