Driving on the road is not always a rosy experience. There are certain circumstances where things get challenging, and it demands maximum effort and skills from the driver to be safe. Weather conditions such as dense fog can throw a big challenge while driving as your visibility is reduced to a mere 100 meters or even less. According to this report published by the Minister of State for Road Transport & Highways Government of India, every year, nearly 415000 accidents are caused due to weather conditions. What makes it more tragic is the fact that most of the accidents could have been avoided if the drivers were properly skilled and informative. We lack proper driving schools, most of the drivers are unaware of the rules and techniques that are required while driving in fog or fog driving precautions. Here are some rules that you can follow to safely drive in foggy weather conditions-
Make yourself visible
The main misconception here while driving in fog is that people think that they should put on more lights such as fog lamps, as it will help them to see more clearly. But the main purpose of the fog lamps is that they are provided in your car so that your vehicle becomes more visible to other drivers on-road and to prevent any collisions. If you live in an area that is covered in fog during winters, then you should always have fog lamps installed in your car, both at the front and rear. The fog lamps have a crystal effect in the bulb, which cuts through the dense fog and makes your car more visible to others. In case your vehicle doesn’t have fog lamps, then you can apply a thin yellow plastic sheet on the headlamps. Yellow color is also effective in cutting through dense fog.
Driving in fog is all about having maximum response time, to stop your vehicle in case something suddenly appears. You should always drive slower than usual and maintain a proper distance between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you. This practice will ensure that in case the vehicle in front of your brakes suddenly or some obstacle appears out of nowhere, then you will have adequate time to react. This will also avoid pile-up accidents, which are common during foggy seasons. Also, it is better to follow a car during fog, if you are not confident enough while driving in the fog. Always make sure that the braking system of your vehicle is in top-notch conditions and the vehicle is maintained overall.
Learn to defrost windows
In India during the foggy season, it is not uncommon to see the glasses of a vehicle all fogged up badly, reducing the visibility even more. These days, all the cars are equipped with an HVAC system that has a dedicated setting or function to deal with the fog or condensation that starts to build upon the glass of the vehicle. You should always read the owner’s manual of your vehicle to learn more about defrosting. It is a very essential thing and can prevent an accident during harsh weather conditions such as fog. While using to defrost settings, make sure that you are not using the recirculation mode and allowing fresh air inside the cabin. If the HVAC system is nonfunctional, then you can crack open the windows by an inch or so.
Do not use a high light beam
Again a common misconception about driving in the fog is that people think that they should drive their vehicle on a high beam of light. This is a disastrous mistake to do because this practice will make you further blind on the road. Fog contains what is called the ‘water particles’ and they act as a reflector. So when you directly point a beam of light onto it, it will reflect it like a mirror. The reflected light will reduce your visibility further, and it will make driving in the fog more challenging. So never make this mistake, and always make sure that you use the low beam settings of your headlamps while driving in foggy weather conditions. Also, make sure that your headlamps are clear and free of dust or slush.
Be aware of surroundings
The fog can act as a sound deadening agent, and it will muffle the surrounding noises. So if you are driving through a rural area or urban city where pedestrians can be expected, then be extra careful. It is advised that you should not use the entertainment system in your car and completely avoid using mobile phones, which can cause distraction. This rule becomes very important while driving on hills as they require extra care. So make sure that anything that can distract you or reduce the chances of listening to anything important such as honking while driving, should be avoided at all costs.
Driving in harsh weather conditions such as fog can be very challenging and you must follow fog driving precautions. To conclude, first, avoid driving in the fog at all costs if the trip is not urgent or some alternative arrangements can be made. If you have to drive, then follow these rules to heart and drive responsibly. Cutting-edge technology such as radar-based systems and infrared cameras are already present in high-end cars, but it will take at least one or two decades till it filters down to common cars. Till then, follow the precautions and drive safely.