Important Tips When Driving in Fog
June 11th, 2020 by Fix Auto USA
Driving in dense fog can be dangerous, regardless of whether you’re an experienced driver or not. If you know how to manage driving in fog, however, you can lower your risk of experiencing a fog-related accident or collision.
What Causes Dense Fog?
Fog forms due to water vapor condensation. During the condensation process, water vapor molecules combine to form small liquid water droplets that remain in the air. This causes dense fog to form — despite the fact that water vapor is invisible.
Dense fog is common in humid conditions. In addition to water vapor, dust or other air pollution particles must be present for fog to develop.
It is also important to note that fog is not the same thing as mist. Fog is much denser and thicker and contains more water particles than mist. Furthermore, fog can make it difficult to see more than 0.5 miles/1 km in front of you, while you can often see up to 1.25 miles/2 km ahead in misty conditions, National Geographic notes.
Driving Lights vs. Fog Lights: What You Need to Know
Your car may have both driving lights and fog lights, and you need to know the differences between the two. That way, you can use your driving lights and fog lights properly based on the road conditions.
Driving lights are intended to provide you with maximum visibility when you’re on the road. They illuminate the road in front of you at night, as well as improve visibility when you drive in rain, sleet, snow, and other harsh weather conditions.
Driving lights can be activated in one of two ways. In some cars, the driving lights are controlled via a lever that is connected to either side of the steering column. In other cars, the driving lights can be controlled via a control panel on the dashboard.
Comparatively, fog lights are designed specifically for driving in areas impacted by dense fog. They emit a bar-shaped light beam and are installed at a lower and sharper angle on the front of a car.
Activating your car’s fog lights requires a different set of controls than those associated with the driving lights. To turn on the fog lights, you may need to use a specific button. In other cases, there may be a rotary light switch that you can use to activate the fog lights.
What to Do When Driving in Dense Fog
There is no telling when dense fog may form, but you need to prepare accordingly. Because if you do, you can travel safely any time you need to drive through dense fog.
When driving in fog, you should:
1. Drive Slowly and Cautiously
Your visibility can become limited when you’re driving in dense fog, so you need to slow down and proceed with caution. Reduce your speed and drive cautiously as you wait for dense fog to subside.
2. Activate Your Car’s Low Beam Headlights
You may be tempted to activate your car’s high beams at the initial sign of dense fog. Yet doing so can actually be dangerous since your high beams will reflect off the fog and back into your car. So, instead of activating the high beams, turn on the low beams.
3. Activate Your Car’s Fog Lights
Your car may have fog lights, and dense fog provides a great opportunity to activate these lights for safe travel.
4. Follow the Right-Side Pavement Line Closely
The white line painted on the side of the road can serve as a guide as you travel through dense fog. Follow this line carefully, and do not follow center pavement markings, as these may lead you closer to other cars and increase your risk of experiencing a fog-related accident or collision.
5. Avoid Using the Car in Front of You as a Guide
Following the lights of a car in front of you may seem like a safe way to travel through dense fog. But with this approach, you may wind up paying too much attention to this car’s lights — and lose focus on the rest of the road. Remember, stay focused on the road when driving in dense fog.
6. Turn Off Your Car’s Cruise Control
When traveling in fog, you should maintain full control of your car. If your vehicle has cruise control, deactivate your car’s cruise control and keep it off until the fog disappears.
7. Do Not Stop in the Middle of the Road
If you need to stop your car when you’re driving in dense fog, pull off to the side of the road, as far away from traffic as possible. Whenever possible, you should stay home or change your travel schedule so you can avoid driving on foggy roads as well. Because if you can stay off foggy roads, you could avoid the risk of a collision or accident.
This blog post was contributed by Fix Auto 17th Street, a leading industry expert and collision repair shop servicing the San Francisco area.
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