Driving in foggy conditions

It’s that time of year when it gets dark before you know it and the weather conditions range from cold to miserable to, more often than not, both at the same time. December is also known for its frequent foggy conditions as temperatures still fluctuate significantly between day and night and there is lots of moisture in the air from all the autumn storms we get coming in from the Atlantic Ocean. Driving in foggy conditions can be particularly hazardous given their limited visibility so we are focusing on a few key tips this month to help you navigate foggy driving conditions safely.

Drive more slowly

Whether you encounter pockets of fog suddenly or the road is covered in a long blanket of it, your first instinct should be to slow down. Significantly. With limited visibility you have no idea what may be in front of you and you want to give yourself the best chance of avoiding a collision; if the worst does happen and you have an accident, having lower speeds is less likely to result in serious damage, injury, or worse. Keep a very close eye on your mirrors too and be aware of who is behind you in case you hit a pocket of fog and have to slow down suddenly. Avoid slamming on the brakes, but instead reduce speed slowly to give those behind you notice that you are slowing down.

Turn down the volume

If you have the radio or music on, turn the volume down. In times of reduced visibility your hearing will become a more important way of identifying potential dangers. You also want to minimise distractions as you will have to concentrate much more in challenging driving conditions.

Wind down the window

To help identify potential dangers or other vehicles on the road, wind your window down and listen carefully. This is particularly useful at junctions when you have to pull out or turn. When manoeuvring at a junction take your time to listen for any other vehicles on the road, then pull out promptly to minimise the time during which you are in the middle of the junction.

Use your lights wisely

When fog sets in, your low beams are your friend. Avoid high beams as the light will only bounce back and make things trickier for you. If you have front and back fog lights turn those on when visibility is below 100m or 328 feet and remember to turn them off when things improve, or you will be distracting other drivers.

If in doubt, stop

If conditions are very bad, roads are busy or in poor condition, or if you don’t feel that confident driving, then err on the side of caution and stop until things clear up enough for you to feel more comfortable. If you are planning to stop, look for a parking lot or area that is removed from traffic if possible. If there is no such spot, pull off to the side as far as you can from other travel lanes.

For more tips on driving in challenging conditions or for help getting on to the road with one of our driving courses talk to us at Lanes School of Driving. Call us on 020 8166 5678 and we will make sure you feel safe on the roads.