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Winter is here and it brings with it long nights, snow, wind and perhaps worse of all – fog. Of all the challenges winter can present to the driver, fog is perhaps the most unnerving. However there are steps you can take to make driving in fog safer and less unnerving for you and other road users this winter.
Clean your Windscreen
The weather conditions that create fog are also the exact conditions that cause your windows to mist up. If you haven’t cleaned your windows since the summer, the moisture will cling to the dirt making your windows increasingly susceptible to clouding up. Keeping your windows clean will help prevent this from happening.
Use your Lights
In misty and foggy conditions you should always use dipped headlights. You should avoid using full beam in foggy conditions as the bright light reflecting off the fog actually obscures your view. You should only use your fog lamps when visibility drops to below 100 metres but don’t forget to turn them off again when visibility improves.
Top up your Windscreen Washer
Fog can create the ideal conditions to make dirt and other grim stick to your windscreen. You should ensure that your car is topped up with windscreen washer fluid so that you can rinse off any debris from the road surface or other passing vehicles, as the last thing you want is to discover you have no means of cleaning your windows when out on the road in fog. Set your wipers to an intermittent setting to keep up visibility levels. You should never use your windscreen wash in freezing fog as the water will turn to ice instantly, further blocking your view.
It may seem obvious, but in fog it pays to be extra vigilant of other road users. Not only can you not rely on other drivers to use their lights correctly but you should also pay extra attention for pedestrians and cyclist. You should reduce your speed in built up areas to give yourself more time to spot and react to other road users.
A steady flow of traffic can help disperse fog on the road, so if you are following a line of cars resist the urge to overtake in an effort to get to the front. In all likelihood the car at the front of the queue will have a thicker wall of fog to deal with when compared to those following further behind and so will need to reduce its speed.
Keep Your Speed Consistent
Keeping to a consistent speed will enable you to slow down and brake in time to avoid hazards. If the vehicle behind is a little too close for comfort you should make sure you are able to slow down or stop in a reasonable manner. Avoid any sudden change in speed will make sure the driver behind you has enough time to react and avoid running into your rear. Fog can also be very patchy, with different levels of thickness. You should only increase your speed again when you are completely sure that the fog has cleared.