Fog On The Roadways
POSTED: Sunday, November 21, 2010 - 9:06pm
UPDATED: Friday, February 11, 2011 - 4:43am
It’s that time of year again, where fog is possible along our roadways. After a very hot summer and mild fall, we haven’t had to deal with dense fog in quite some time. Here are a few reminders of how to stay safe if you encounter dense fog on the roads.
First a reminder of what “dense fog” is. Fog is suspended water droplets in the air above the surface of the Earth. Almost like a cloud on the ground. Dense Fog is fog that reduces visibility to ¼ mile or less, and it can be very dangerous. Here is a list of what you should do if you encounter reduced visibility due to fog while driving.
1. Turn your low beams and hazards on. Fog reflects light, so putting on your high beams will only result in all that light being reflected back into your eyes, reducing visibility.
2. Turn on your windshield defroster and wipers. This will help remove any condensed water from your windshield.
3. Slow down SLOWLY. Instinct might tell you to slam on your breaks, but it’s better to remove your foot from the accelerator and tap your breaks gently. Slamming on your breaks is something the cars behind you won’t be anticipating, and could cause a pile-up. By slowing down slowly and tapping your breaks, your flashing break lights will indicate that you are slowing down to the cars behind you.
4. Keep some distance from other cars. It’s easy to want to stay as close as you can to the few other cars you can see clearly, but this reduces your ability to break with enough distance to safely avoid other cars if necessary. Best thing to do is to use the skip marks on the road as a guide. They are roughly 40 feet apart, and if you are traveling 25 mph, it will take 120 feet to stop your car completely. That is equivalent to 3 skip marks. To goal is to keep the other cars just within view so you maximize the time you’ll have to avoid them if necessary.
5. Pull over and get out of the car. If you have zero visibility and can safely pull your car off the road you should pull over, place your hazards on and get away from your car, and wait for the fog to clear. Remember to keep your cell phone with you.
6. Don’t drive. Expect the chance of fog this time of year. Check the weather if you will be traveling in the early morning hours, and if dense fog is forecast try to avoid driving by modifying your plans.