Drivers know to take it slow and keep their distance from other cars during snow, ice and rainstorms. When it comes to different types of inclement weather, fog often gets overlooked as a serious hazard.
Yet the statistics paint a different picture. Fog is a large cloud of water droplets that forms when air comes in contact with the ground and then cools. According to Weather.com, this phenomenon is responsible for 38,000 crashes, 15,000 injuries and 600 fatalities every year. These clouds greatly decrease visibility, frequently in the morning and evening.
The closer drivers are to the coast, the greater the chances of encountering foggy conditions. It’s recommended you avoid driving when fog blankets the landscape and roads, but here’s what you can do if you have to venture outside.
1. Slow Down
Drivers will be able to see about a quarter-mile ahead through fog – if that. As such, you may not be able to make out other motorists, objects obstructing your path or changes in road conditions. For these reasons, it’s essential to slow down and give yourself sufficient time to react. In extreme cases, consider pulling off the road to wait it out.
Fog may distort your perception of speed, as you cannot see other objects moving in relation to your vehicle. Drivers might feel like they’re going at a moderately slow pace when in fact, they are traveling the speed limit or faster. Always keep an eye on the speedometer to see how fast you’re going.
2. Avoid High Beams
The darker it is, the less likely you can see ahead. You may think it’s a good idea to use your high beams while driving through fog, but its small water droplets actually reflect the light back at you. As a result, you could be temporarily blinded by a wall of light you cannot see through. Instead, use your low beams or fog lights, so other drivers can see you coming.
3. Focus On the Road Ahead
Always drive defensively, no matter the conditions. It’s illegal to use your phone behind the wheel in Connecticut and it’s an especially dangerous maneuver in fog. Consider opening the windows to better hear approaching vehicles. Should visibility decrease, follow the right side of the road and look for reflectors. Try to stay in your own lane, as switching in foggy weather can be very risky.
Also avoid using cruise control – you never know when you’ll have to slow down or stop suddenly because of an obstruction in your path. Keep your eyes peeled for other inclement conditions, like black ice in winter, so you can react in a timely and safe manner.
4. Give Yourself Distance
Don’t tailgate other cars in foggy conditions; stretch the three-second rule for distance between vehicles. Should you have to stop, don’t slam on your brakes. Take things slow for your own safety and any motorists behind you.
Check your mirrors often, in case another car is following too closely. In these instances, don’t accelerate to appease the other motorist. Continue traveling at a safe speed until the other car has time to safely pass.
5. Keep Your View Clear
Moisture and ice on your windshield add to the glare effect, so turn on your wipers and defroster to keep the windshield clear. On the other hand, be mindful about using the heater. Especially when its cold outside, heat may cause the windows to fog up inside, obstructing your view.
6. Look Out for Animals
Be on the lookout for animals of all sizes, including deer and moose, who may cross your path at any moment. In order to react and stop in time, drive slow and keep an eye on the roadside. Hopefully that way, you will see the animals before they enter the road.
7. Pull Over If Needed
If the conditions are so bad you feel unsafe behind the wheel, pull as far to the side of the road as possible. Ideally, you would find a parking lot off the main road but you may have to settle for the shoulder. Use your turn signal to move over and activate the hazard lights once you’ve stopped the vehicle, so other motorists can avoid a collision with your car.
Were foggy conditions partially responsible for your recent car accident? Did another motorist hit your vehicle from behind due to lack of visibility? Rather than deal with the insurance company on your own, bring your claim to Trantolo & Trantolo’s car accident lawyers. To speak with an attorney, give us a call today.