How to Handle Driving Through Fog

Jack Dreyer | Wednesday 22nd February 2023 1:00pm

A car drives through heavy fog on a country lane.

Driving through fog can be really scary the first few times you have to do so. You’re suddenly forced to be hyper-vigilant of other drivers while having to be extra aware of your own vehicle. However, as scary as it feels at first, it’s not as bad as it seems with some patience, practice, and forethought.

Use your fog lights

Because of the way that light reflects and refracts on all the moisture droplets in fog, wide-beam lights (like full-beam headlights) don’t get very far. In fact, almost no light gets very far! That’s why you also can’t see ahead very well.

A car drives through thick forest with heavy fog – its foglights are on to aid with visibility.

Front fog lights

Front fog lights are mounted very low on the front of the vehicle to help light up the road underneath the fog. They’re much brighter beams than normal full-beam headlights so should be turned off as soon as the fog clears – otherwise you risk dazzling other road users.

Rear fog lights

Rear fog lights Rear fog lights used to be optional extras for vehicles but at the beginning of the 2010s became mandatory in many parts of the world. That said, even before they were mandatory they were included with many vehicles. They help your car to be seen by drivers behind and they work by focusing a tight beam of light so that it gets diffused a lot less than a headlight.

As such, they’re not any help in actually increasing visibility, but help to stop other drivers from driving into you.

Fog lights can also be used during particularly heavy rain – but must always be turned off when visibility returns – or you’ll dazzle other drivers and could potentially cause an accident.

Slow down in fog

With reduced visibility comes reduced ability to react quickly. If you can’t see ahead very far, then you won’t have very long to stop, change lanes, or otherwise avoid an accident.

It’s important, therefore, to make sure that you always reduce your speed to an appropriate level whenever there’s reduced visibility. Even in the worst visibility, accidents are very unlikely if everyone drives responsibly!

Try to look up ahead as well as behind

Hopefully, any cars ahead of you will have their rear fog lights turned on, so use them to gauge how traffic is flowing as much as you’re able to and try to match the flow of traffic.

At the same time, keep an eye on your rear-view mirror to make sure nobody is driving too fast up to you. If it looks like someone hasn’t spotted you and is driving dangerously, turn on your hazard lights to alert them.

Make sure your lights, brakes, and wipers are functional

Other than it being a legal requirement, having to drive through fog or adverse-visibility conditions without lights, adequate brakes, or wipers can prove to be extremely dangerous – make sure your car’s always ready for anything with regular servicing at your local Kwik Fit centre!

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