Driving in fog can be particularly risky for drivers, due to the serious negative impact on visibility. During periods of dense fog, the best way to stay safe is to avoid driving completely unless absolutely necessary. If you need to drive in foggy conditions, there are certain things you can do to potentially prevent any nasty accidents.
It is important to keep your wits about you at all times in adverse weather conditions. If you are driving along a road where a ‘Fog’ sign is displayed on a roadside signal, yet the road appears clear, The Highway Code encourages drivers to stay vigilant as there may be drifting, patchy fog ahead. They recommend staying attentive, as even if it seems to be clearing you could suddenly find yourself back in an area of dense fog, where visibility can deteriorate quickly.
With regards to using fog lights, The AA recommends using a common sense approach. They highlight the importance of understanding how to turn your front and rear fog lights on and off, to allow you to use them appropriately in areas of seriously low visibility. They suggest that although there is no obligation to use them, it is better to be safe than sorry. Both the AA and Gov.uk agree however that it is vital to switch them off when visibility improves, as they can dazzle other drivers and obscure your brake lights.
Top tips for driving in fog
Working brake lights are a vital tool during foggy weather, as they can warn other drivers when you are slowing down. Rule 235 of The Highway Code also suggests that you should:
- Keep a safe distance behind the vehicle in front.
- Drive slowly enough that you can stop safely, well within the distance where you can clearly see. This becomes particularly important on motorways and dual carriageways, as vehicles are travelling faster.
- Not accelerate in order to get away from a vehicle which is too close behind you.
- Turn off your music and think about winding down your windows too so you can hear oncoming hazards.
- Stop in the correct position at a junction with limited visibility and listen for traffic. When you are sure it is safe to emerge, do so positively and do not hesitate in a position that puts you directly in the path of approaching vehicles.
As well as making sure you take necessary precautions when driving in foggy conditions, it is also important to be aware of those around you. Take extra care when looking in mirrors, and be aware of other drivers not using their headlights.
Also watch out for cyclists, parked cars, pedestrians crossing the road, and animals running out in front of you. You’re less likely to be notice hazards when it’s foggy so always stay alert and try to anticipate any potential hazards if you can. Acknowledge that you may need to stop suddenly and make sure you’re driving slowly enough to be able to do this.
Allowing for additional journey time, especially if your journey will take you on unfamiliar roads, can prevent you from rushing and putting yourself in a situation that could potentially create unnecessary stress and danger.
If you are worried about being caught out in foggy conditions, it is worth taking a look at The Highway Code to refresh your memory with their top tips on how to stay safe.