Advice for Driving in Fog.

Advice from Lennie for Driving in Fog.

Driving in fog is perhaps the worst driving condition there is. If the road you are driving along is

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Pay attention please.

covered in ice, snow, or you are driving on a clear night on a dark road, at least you can see where you

are going. It is when the weather is foggy that the situation changes. To help you to drive in reduced visibility here are a series of helpful hints that might just make driving in fog a whole lot easier.

Good Driver’s Know How to Deal with Fog

Lights to Use When Driving in Fog — Unless you happened to have been taking part in a learner driving lesson on a foggy day you probably haven’t had much in the way of training in how to cope with driving in fog.

However, you should know that in fog (and in other situations of seriously reduced visibility) you need to display lights, and the absolute minimum should be dipped headlights, every time.

The whole point of switching on your lights during daylight fog is so that you and your car can be seen, and not for you to see any better where you are going. Isn’t it a shame that it seems as if the rest of the world has not been told this?

Next time you are out in daytime fog, have a look at the twit who is driving on side–lights. Notice how you can see their car before you see their lights, and how that will be at close range too. Too close for comfort, that’s for sure, almost as if they are driving on candles, just think what it would be like if they were driving at speed, they may as well have not bothered with lights at all!

 Driving Tips for using Lights.

When driving at night you would naturally drive on a minimum of dipped headlights, but when there is fog at night, have you ever seen what happens when the driver tried switching the headlights onto high/main–beam? Terrible isn’t it, as you can’t see a thing! This is because the water droplets that make up the fog reflect the light back at you, causing dazzle. However, have you realised this doesn’t happen in daylight?

To really be seen in daylight fog, flick between your full–beam and dipped beam headlights, just as you would on a clear night, and complying with the same rules concerning dazzle to other drivers. By this advanced driving method your car will be seen from a greater distance away, as compared to when driving on ordinary dipped headlights. Not only will you be a lot safer, but others will be too, as they will be aware of you very much earlier.

However, there is something you need to be wary of. If you are using your rear fog light, you will find on many cars that when you switch to high–beam headlights, the fog light on the back of your car will go out, and then come back on again as you dip your headlights. Not a problem for you as such, but this will be extremely annoying for a driver following. So make sure you use your mirrors if adopting this method for the sake of any one behind you. Remember it is your rear end they will use to stop if confused by your lights.                                                                                                                                   Be warned, if you own a really modern car with “day running lights” though they give a strong bright light at the front there is frequently no light at all at the rear so switch on your dipped headlights.

Information on Rear Fog Lights

Rear fog lights, day or night, when driving with a vehicle behind you, you don’t need to have it switched on, as that driver will already know you are there. If you can see an unlit part of the vehicle following when looking in your mirror, that driver can already see your ordinary tail lights. Think also that if you have your rear fog light switched on, the glare can be such as to mask your brake lights, therefore making you more likely to be hit from behind. This is so easy to forget so make sure they are switched off if not needed.

More Information about Driving in Fog

This advice does not only apply to driving in foggy conditions, but at any time and in any weather.

  1. Make sure that all windows & mirrors are spotlessly clean and smudge–free. As the interior of a car is made up largely of oil–based plastics, when subjected to the heat of strong sunlight, the plastic surfaces give off an oily vapour, which then coats the inside of the car windows. This creates a foggy haze on the glass, which impairs visibility, especially at night or in bad weather but can also flare up in strong sunlight.
  2.  NEVER wipe mist off the inside of windows with yours hands. The natural oils on your skin cause smearing and frustrate the ability to see clearly at night or in bad weather. Use a clean, damp chamois leather or special window cleaning cloth instead. To stop the inside of the windscreen misting up, direct your heater control to the screen vents and open your drivers door window just a crack to allow for greater air flow. If you have air conditioning fitted to your car check the handbook for advice on how to use it correctly as it can be a great help.
  3. If you are driving in freezing fog, do not use your screen washers before the engine compartment has really warmed up, as the fluid may freeze on the screen and obscure your vision. If you need to clean the windscreen, find somewhere to pull over safely and use a clean glass cleaning cloth.
  4. Do not follow the taillights of the car in front as you may be a lot closer than you think for the speed you are travelling at. Increase your safety margin as much as you possibly can.
  5. In fog you can easily suffer sensory deprivation the silence and loss of speed awareness can be very dangerous. So check your speed regularly you may be going a lot faster than you thought and as said above open the window about a centimeter (half an inch) it will give many benefits including providing you with fresh air.
  6. Make sure before you start out you tell someone where you are going and your expected time of arrival. Sound soft, I’ve done it for years so why can’t you?
  7. Make sure your phone is charged and if you are one of those twits who send or read texts when you drive for goodness sake not in these conditions. Never use your phone hand held, find a safe place to stop first, preferably off the main road to prevent being hit.
  8. If you are making a long journey plan your route out in advance, make sure you have some warm clothing and a flask with a hot drink. Maybe even a snack in case you are delayed due to an incident or get lost. Be careful if using a satnav-you are not looking at the road.
  9. If you take regular medication carry an emergency pack in the glove box.
  10. Make sure your torch has a good battery, we usually forget until we need it, or is fully charged up.
  11. Finally do you really need to make this journey, could you wait a while until the fog clears?

Here are some regular monthly checks, unless you are going on a long journey then you should run through these before you set off.

REGULAR  MONTHLY CHECKS.

Here are some regular monthly checks, unless you are going on a long journey then you should run through these before you set off.

Remember – F.L.O.W.E.R.S.(S).

F: Fuel:  Have you got enough?

L: Lights:  Are the bulbs all working and do you have spares in case?

O: Oil:   Have you checked the level recently, is it ok?

W: Water:  Are the levels all topped up and do you carry a top up bottle? Did you know it is a penalty if your windscreen washer bottle is empty when you are driving?

E: Electrics:  Are all the switches working and in good order?

R: Rubber:  Are the tyres in good condition and the tread at least the legal 1.6mm but preferably 3.0mm including the spare as you may need it? (A defective tyre carries a fine of up to £2,500 and 3 penalty points each, including the spare). Remember to check the wiper rubber, front & back, is able to clear the screen efficiently these are easily cleaned for a few pence with just a drop of vinegar in a wet cloth and wiped over.

S: Stability Make sure the car is evenly loaded; we have all seen cars tilting and leaning over with crazy

Lean right Bessie, lean right.

loads. If you are carrying something heavy in the boot then put the back seatbelts on to prevent it flying forward and don’t leave anything heavy or sharp on the rear parcel shelf such as a book or umbrella.

(S)Self: Are you fit to drive, are you tired, been drinking, taken any drugs, even over the counter drugs you may have bought for a cold or flu.

The Law Concerning Use of Lights

It is an offence to drive a motor car during the hours of darkness on a road without street lighting, where the speed limit is greater than 30 miles per hour without displaying dipped headlights.

It is an offence to drive a motor car on a road without displaying obligatory lights in circumstances of seriously reduced visibility, such as fog, rain or falling snow (Obligatory lights means side lights, but anyone who doesn’t use dipped headlights is at a high risk of being hit and in my mind a sandwich short of a picnic).

A driver can be prosecuted if driving a motor vehicle on a road whilst displaying either front or rear fog lamps when the weather conditions at the time make it unnecessary.

It is an offence to park a motor car on a road during the hours of darkness without displaying obligatory lights (side lights) unless that road has a system of street lighting and is subject to a speed limit of 30 miles per hour.

All lighting equipment fitted to a motor vehicle whilst in use on a road must be maintained in good efficient working order, even when used during the hours of daylight

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