Advice for tackling foggy driving conditions

28th November 2012

It's not just snow and ice that motorists need to look out for as winter sets in, foggy conditions, which happen at any time of the year, can be a real hazard and may severely affect a driver's visibility.

Chief examiner of the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) Peter Rodger warned that "fog is one of the most difficult conditions to drive in," and advised motorists to leave plenty of additional time for their journey when travelling in misty conditions.

Mr Rodger suggested that drivers ignore the effect that fog has on their visibility at their peril.

In foggy weather it's particularly important for drivers to check their windows and windscreen are clean and ensure that their lights are in good working order.

Dipped headlights should be used in foggy conditions, and when visibility is less than 100 metres both front and rear fog lights should be used.

It is important that drivers familiarise themselves with the front and rear fog lights and are aware of how to switch them on and off so they can use them quickly if needed.

The AA says that it is important to use fog lights "when appropriate" although drivers should avoid switching them on and off all the time. It advises to "wait for a consistent improvement in visibility before switching them off".

Motorists are reminded that fog lights should only ever be used when the weather requires them as leaving them on when they are not needed is an offence, and getting stopped by the police is the last thing any driver wants.

It is particularly important to drive slowly and maintain a suitable distance between yourself and the car in front if the weather is bad. Leaving three seconds between you and the car in front is always sensible.

Mr Rodger suggests that drivers "brake gently but earlier than usual so your brake lights warn drivers behind".

Anyone who has driven in fog will be aware that it can get thicker quickly and without warning, if this happens it's important that drivers slow down and react to the situation quickly.
 
While you may have put your fog lights on, it's very possible that other drivers have neglected to, so it is important to take extra care and attention of other road users in foggy conditions. Wind down your window and listen for traffic at junctions.

Everyone is aware of the danger of driving when tired, and driving when it's foggy can be particularly difficult and may make you tired very quickly, so it's important to remember to take regular breaks in such conditions.

Although it is unlikely that you will need to leave your car, it's still advisable to carry high-viz clothing in case you break down. Anyone who has driven past a cyclist at night who isn't wearing reflective gear will know how potentially dangerous it can be.

The AA makes the good point that while there's no legal obligation to use fog lights, it could have financial implications as "if your car is involved in an accident in reduced visibility and its fog lights weren't on, then it may be queried by an insurer".

Visit ATS Euromaster to ensure your car is fit for any weather conditions

Posted by Driving in fog can be hazardous and drivers need to make provisions for such conditions