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Driving in fog - even the most experienced drivers fear fog

Driving Tips

The Facts 

  • Fog is nothing more than stratus cloud that is formed at ground level [1]
  • Severe disruption to transport occurs when fog causes the visibility to fall below 50 metres [1]
  • Thick fog can lead to drivers gradually increasing their speed due to the lack of visible reference points [2]

The Advice

  • Do you really need to make the journey at all? Is there another means of transport that would allow you to complete the journey with less risk?
  • Before you set out, clean your windscreen inside and out. Visibility is going to be bad enough anyway and you don’t want to make the situation worse
  • Set the air conditioning, climate control or screen demist function to the optimum setting, to keep the inside of the screen clear
  • Check that your rear lights and headlights are working correctly before you set off. Once on the move, use dipped headlights
  • Ensure your mirrors are clean and correctly adjusted. Use them more than you would in normal driving conditions
  • Be sure you know how to turn your foglights on and off. Only use front or rear foglights if visibility is less than 100 metres. Always remember to switch them off when the fog lifts
  • Remember that fog density can change very quickly and you may need to slow down. Always match your speed with the distance you know to be clear to allow a safe stopping distance
  • Many drivers become confused about their speed in fog; keep checking your speedo and don’t rely on following another vehicle’s rear lights
  • Use your brake lights, as a communication device to those behind, to warn them well in advance that you intend slowing down. When stopped in thick fog without a vehicle behind you, have both your brake lights and rear fog lights illuminated
  • At junctions in heavy fog, it can help to have the windows down to listen for approaching traffic that you might not be able to see soon enough
  • If you have a temperature gauge in the vehicle, monitor it for the early signs of freezing fog. This type of fog not only clings to the outside of your windscreen and reduces visibility, but also reduces road grip
  • Travelling in fog can be tiring, strenuous and stressful. Take regular breaks

Sources [1] The Met Office, UK, 2014 [2] TRL research report 2005

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