10 Tips To Stay Safe On Foggy Roads This Winter
On the morning of January 29, thick fog on the Jaipur-Agra highway caused a kilometer long, 30 vehicles pile-up, killing one and injuring 15. It is no secret that driving in the fog can be a complete road safety nightmare, even for the most experienced and confident drivers, and a single misstep can cause massive accidents. Every year, North India witnesses multiple accidents as a result of the dense fog that sets over the region in the months of December and January.
“The density of fog is often quite unpredictable. In a dense fog, the driver cannot see beyond his own vehicle’s limits. In such conditions driving can prove to be quite challenging unless proper precautions are taken,” Delhi Traffic Police Inspector Manju Singh explains.
Here are some tips to stay safe while driving through dense fog.
1. Set the headlights on low beam
It is imperative to see and be seen on a foggy day when the visibility is already very low. Setting the headlights on low beam can help with this. Using headlights on high-beam is inadvisable because the fog actually reflects this light back, hindering the driver’s vision.
If the visibility drops below 100 meters, it is a good idea to turn on the car’s fog lamp (if your car is equipped with one).
2. Reduce your speed
Since visibility is so poor, it can get difficult to gauge your surroundings or react quickly enough to real-time road conditions if you are speeding. Driving at a reasonably slow pace better equips you to react to the road and traffic and stop in time, if necessary. Sometimes it may seem that there is no car ahead and that it okay to speed. However, it is impossible to truly ascertain whether there is someone beyond the limit of visibility and not considering this could lead to collisions.
3. Listen for the traffic that can’t be seen
One’s ears can be the greatest asset while driving in foggy conditions. While your visibility may be impaired during dense fog, the sounds of tyres and horns can help you estimate the distance from unseen vehicles. So, while driving through fog, keep your music off and listen to the sounds of the road.
4. Stick to your lane
With low visibility while driving through fog, it is very difficult to figure out when someone is switching lanes , which means that other drivers can often get startled and this could lead to collisions. It is better to concentrate on one part of the road and stick to a particular lane.
5. Use your indicator
Once again, it is important to be seen on a foggy road and indicate one’s intentions to the other drivers. When making a turn, it is advisable to give an indication for at least ten seconds to allow vehicles behind some time to slow down.
6. Try to keep your windows clear
Try and keep your vision as clear as possible. Clean your windscreen on the inside and the outside to ensure that there are no further impediments to your sight.
7. Turn on your heater
The fog outside often causes condensation to build up on the inside of the vehicle, hampering one’s vision even more. This can easily be cleared by turning the heater on.
8. Do not overtake
The key to driving during foggy conditions is patience and trying to overtake is highly discouraged. Your efforts to overtake can be distracting for the driver in front and can also catch them unaware, not allowing them to slow down on time, and can lead to a collision.
9. Maintain a good distance between vehicles
Keeping a sensible amount of space between you and the vehicle ahead is a very good idea. This gives one enough time to react, slow down and stop when required. Pile-ups are often caused when vehicles are following each other too closely and are unable to react when things start to go wrong.
10. Stay focused on the road
The most important thing while driving through fog is to stay vigilant and keep your eyes on the road. It takes a split second for something to go wrong which means that every driver has the responsibility to minimise all types of distractions and focus on the traffic and weather conditions.