Fog may create a moody, ethereal setting for a landscape painter, but it creates dangerous conditions for drivers.
Between 2002 and 2012, there were over 31,300 fog-related crashes and more than 500 fatalities each year in the U.S., according to the Federal Highway Administration.
That sobering statistic is why fleet managers should remind drivers about how to drive safely in dense fog. Fog can come on suddenly – and it can reduce a driver’s visibility to one-quarter of a mile or less.
Experts suggest drivers take the following steps to ensure their safety when driving in dense fog:
Slow down – With reduced visibility it is imperative to allow yourself increased reaction time.
Keep a safe following distance – While it may be tempting to stay close to the vehicle ahead so you can see, it’s actually more dangerous.
Manually turn on your headlights – Fog can trick a car with automatic headlights, keeping them off. So make sure to manually turn on lights.
Use low beam headlamps – High beams can cause light to reflect back off water droplets in the air, which further obscures your view.
Always use wipers and defrosters – When driving in fog, windshield wipers and defrosters help you see better and reduce glare from oncoming cars.
Roll down the windows – Since your vision is impaired, it’s smart to rely more on your hearing while driving. If you hear anything odd like squeaking or crunching, safely brake and pull over to the side of the road.
Rely on the right side line – With decreased visibility, it is a good practice to use the white line on the right side of the road as your guide. This is safer than using the center line which brings you closer to the traffic.
Know when to pull over – If the fog is so thick you can cut it with a knife and you can’t see at all, it is wise to pull over and turn on your hazard lights.