Just days ago in Louisiana, a tragic combination of “superfog” and driver errors led to a series of multivehicle crashes on Interstate 55 near New Orleans. 158 different vehicles were reportedly involved in multiple collisions at various locations on the interstate, resulting in at least seven fatalities and more than two dozen reported injuries. The tragic loss of life and catastrophic damages caused by this accident highlight the importance of knowing how to safely drive in fog. In this article, we discuss safety tips for driving through fog and dealing with limited visibility.
It’s important to note that driving in thick fog can be very dangerous. If you can avoid driving until the fog layer burns off or take an alternate route to your destination that offers less restrictions on visibility, we suggest doing so. Otherwise, read on to learn more about driving as safely as possible in foggy conditions.
Keep Your Headlights On
Improving visibility is absolutely crucial when driving in fog. Not only do you want to be sure you can see as much of the road as possible, but you also want the drivers in front of and behind you to be able to see your vehicle. Keep your car’s headlights and brake lights on, even if you’re driving in the daytime. However, you should avoid using your high beam lights. High beams can cause glare and make it more difficult for you to see, and they may also blind oncoming drivers. Use your regular low beam lights or, ideally, fog lights if your car is equipped with them.
Do Not Stop Unless It’s Necessary
It may be tempting to bring your vehicle to a stop until you can see the road ahead of you more clearly. This is not a good decision, as drivers behind you may not be able to see your vehicle until it’s too late to avoid a collision. Continue moving through the fog at a reasonable speed. If visibility decreases to the extent that you are unable to see the road or possible obstructions, find a safe place to pull over and wait for conditions to improve.
If you decide to pull over to the side of the road, keep an eye out for other drivers who had the same thought and may be on the shoulder of the road. Other drivers may attempt to get off the road after you do, so try not to park directly on the shoulder, where an inattentive motorist may strike your car. If you can reach a public place, such as a rest stop or parking lot, this is much better than waiting out the fog on the side of the road.
Once your vehicle is off the road, turn off your lights. Your car will be less visible, but other drivers will not think that your vehicle is still in motion. If your vehicle is struck, a car accident attorney in Jersey City may be able to help you secure compensation for any ensuing injuries or damages.
Drive at a Safe Speed
If your vision of the road is obstructed, you should slow your vehicle’s speed substantially. It may not be safe to travel at or close to the speed limit. Instead, you should drive at a speed that allows you to react to sudden obstacles or hazards in your path safely. You want to increase the distance between your car and the vehicles in front of and behind you, so that you neither strike nor are rear-ended. Keep a close eye on your speedometer, since it can feel as though you’re driving slower than you are in fog.
Anytime that you’re driving in dangerous conditions, you need to focus fully on the road. Don’t get on a phone call, play loud music, or have an intense conversation with your passengers. Your full attention should be focused on the road, since traffic conditions can change in an instant and force you to quickly adapt. Limiting distractions can make the difference between a close call and a serious car crash.
Keep Your Windows Clear
Turning on your defrosters and windshield wipers is a wise move if you’re driving through heavy fog. Fog creates moisture buildup on your windows, which acts in concert with the fog itself to make it more challenging to see what lies ahead. Your defroster can remove some of the moisture buildup, and operating your windshield wipers can also help keep your windows clear of water.
On average, windshield wipers should be replaced every six to twelve months. Depending on where you live and how high-quality your car’s windshield wipers are, you may find that they last substantially longer than the recommended replacement period. If you live in a rainy climate and find yourself using windshield wipers frequently, you will likely need to replace them annually.
Stay Safe the Next Time You Drive in Fog
We hope that this article helps you and your loved ones enjoy a safe drive the next time you encounter foggy conditions. Remember that the best solution is to postpone your trip until the fog clears up. When doing so is not an option, be sure to slow down, drive cautiously, and stay as visible to other drivers as possible.