Fog is one of the most dangerous adverse weather conditions for drivers. Fog can severely limit visibility, creating conditions where a driver cannot see the road at all. According to the Department of Transportation, around 38,700 motor vehicle accidents occur each year due to fog, resulting in more than 600 deaths. Take a few precautions to improve your ability to navigate your vehicle safely in fog.
Keep Your Headlights On
There is some general confusion among drivers about the correct use of a vehicle’s headlights in foggy conditions. The key to optimizing visibility as much as possible is to keep your headlights on no matter what. Even if it is the middle of the day, turn your headlights on if you are driving through fog. Your headlights will help you see the road in front of you better. It will also activate your taillights to help ensure drivers behind you can see you.
Do Not Use High Beams
While headlights can aid visibility, high beams reduce it. This is because light aimed too high into dense fog or mist will refract off of the individual droplets, creating a glare that can be more difficult for a driver to see through than the fog itself. Instead of using your high beams, stick to standard low-beam headlights. You can also turn on fog lights if your vehicle has them.
Reduce Your Speed
Maintain a safe and reasonable speed when traveling through fog. This means a speed that is appropriate for the road and weather conditions – not necessarily the posted speed limit. You may need to drive significantly slower than the speed limit for safety reasons.
Fog can limit your visibility and delay your ability to see vehicles, objects and road signs in front of you. Reducing your speed can allow you to put more distance between your vehicle and other cars and fixed objects. This can give you more time to react to changing roadway situations.
Keep Your Windshield Clear
When driving in fog, moisture can accumulate on your windows and windshield to further hinder your view of the road. Turn your windshield wipers on and use the defroster setting to decrease this moisture. The best defroster setting to get rid of moisture is warm to hot.
If you are having trouble seeing through your windshield, use the white line that is painted on the side of the road as a guide for where your vehicle should be positioned. Do not use the center line, as this could move you too close to oncoming traffic.
It is even more important than usual to avoid distractions if you are driving through fog. Reduced visibility means your reaction times will be much worse. Rather than spotting a hazard far down the road, you may not be able to see it until it is right in front of you. Distractions, such as looking at a cell phone, can leave you no time at all to react or brake. You also need to stay vigilant of drivers around you who may not be able to see your vehicle.
When in Doubt, Pull Over
If the fog becomes too severe for you to feel comfortable driving, pull over in a safe place that is away from the flow of traffic. Do not stop your vehicle in the middle of the road, as vehicles behind you may not see your stopped car until it is too late. If you cannot see where you’re going and have to stop on the side of the road instead of exiting or getting to a safe place, turn off your headlights. Keeping them on could confuse other drivers and make them think you are in a travel lane.
Injured in a Fog-Related Car Accident? Contact Cannon Law
If you get into a car accident in Colorado due to heavy fog or other adverse weather conditions, you may still be eligible for financial compensation from one or more parties. Another driver may be at fault, for example, for dangerous or reckless driving behaviors in foggy conditions. Contact a car accident attorney at Cannon Law to discuss your legal rights during a free case consultation.