It is at least the second day this week that we have woken up to heavy fog in Southeast Texas. Since fog can reduce visibility, it is important to take extra precaution when driving in dense fog. And in the early morning hours, drivers are commuting to work and may be more groggy than normal with slower response times.
Any type of unusual and/or severe weather should command all of your attention on the road, heavy fog is no exception. As we are heading into fall, we have less sunlight during the early morning and late evening hours, when you are more likely to have foggy conditions. So here are some tips for driving in fog:
1. Slow down – just like driving in rain, foggy driving conditions can limit visibility and make it harder to see what is coming ahead. Plan to leave for work or you daily activities a little earlier to allow for more travel time and slow down to give yourself more reaction time. Leave extra room between you and the vehicle in front of you as a precaution. If you are going at a slower speed, remember to stay in the right hand lane, when possible, to allow other drivers to pass you if necessary. If visibility is so limited it is unsafe to continue, find a safe place to park and wait for the fog to lift.
2. Do not stop on the road – if driving conditions become severe, one reaction may be to slow down and then stop in the road. Never stop on the road! Slow down to a reasonable speed and find a safe place to pull off of the road. If you stop on the road, other drivers coming behind you may not have slowed down and may not see your vehicle until it is too late. If you do need to pull off the road, find a safe place to park and then turn off your lights. If you leave your lights on it could cause other drivers to think that your taillights show the lane of traffic and try to follow you.
3. Use headlights but not brightest – something to remember from your driving test years ago, do not use your high-beam headlights when driving in fog. Do use your regular headlights to allow other vehicles to see you more easily. Fog is made up of tiny water droplets that can spread and reflect light and can reduce visibility even more for you and other drivers. Having you regular headlights on is especially important if you have a light colored and/or a small vehicle.
4. Use fog lights if you have them – some vehicles come equipped with front and/or rear fog lights that can help illuminate the road. Not only do they help you see, they also make your vehicle more visible to others on the road. If you have this capability, be sure to take advantage of it during foggy driving conditions.
5. Limit distractions and focus on the road – remember to give your full attention to the road. Do not use your phone or other devices while driving and limit conversations with other passengers. You may need to turn down the radio too in order to fully focus on what is going on. Another tip from Travelors.com is to "roll down your window to help you hear other traffic on the road.”
Always drive safely and use precautions during unusual driving conditions. It is safer to call work and explain that you may be a little late than risk an accident.
(Picture from Travelers.com)
Make it a safe day!