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Staying safe in the fogBack

DrivingInFogWe’re well into winter now and most motorists will be prepared for the icy and snowy conditions that could occur, but not all drivers are as prepared for foggy conditions behind the wheel.

Fog is common at this time of year and is caused by cold air passing over warmer water or moist land. At present, the temperatures across the UK are quite erratic, therefore fog is highly likely to occur.

Below, Trusted Dealers shows motorists how to stay safe in foggy conditions this winter.

Fog lights

Many drivers are uncertain where there fog lights are located, or struggle to work out how to switch the lights on even when they locate the correct symbol. You can tell when your rear fog lights are switched on when you spot a lit up orange lamp-shaped symbol with horizontal straight lines intersected with one wavy line on the dashboard. Front fog lights are indicated by the same symbol in green.  Below are some further pointers to remember about fog lights:

When should I turn my fog lights off? If you can see the tail lights of the car in front of you, you do not need to have your fog lights on. When the fog clears, turn your fog lights off as soon as possible to avoid dazzling other motorists. In patchy fog, turn your fog lights off in the clearer patches and on again when the fog gets thicker.

Front fog lights – if your car comes with front fog lamps, they do not have to be used unless the fog is extremely thick. If you do use them, the same rule for switching them on and off applies as to rear fog lamps

Dipped beam headlights – fog lights will only work with the dipped beam headlights turned on, so make sure you do this first.

Don’t be hasty – remember not to turn your fog lights on too early or you could dazzle drivers behind you. Follow the Highway Code rules which outline that fog lamps should only be activated when the visibility drops below 100m.

Car insurance – you don’t have to use your fog lights, but that is what they are designed for and your insurance company might not be as keen to pay out if you’re involved in a fog-related accident without your fog lights being on.

Check your lights

With the above in mind, it’s important to check your lights before you venture out in the fog. Firstly check they are all working correctly by turning on your dipped beams and fully inspecting the car. Check the position of your headlamp switch and make sure it is set to the dipped beam setting before you set off. This will not only improve your vision, but also ensure that other drivers see you in plenty of time.

Automatic headlights

If your headlights are set to the automatic button, it is a good idea to change them during foggy conditions. Automatic headlights won’t always come on if its foggy yet bright as they rely on light-level sensors. Be mindful of drivers that might be using their automatic lights as they will become almost invisible in heavy fog.

Avoid full beam

Always avoid full beam headlights in fog, even if there is no other car on the road. The reason being that the fog actually reflects the light back at you, which reduces rather than improves your visibility. It can actually be a potential hazard if you become dazzled by your own full beam, so check the blue headlamp light is not glowing on your dashboard before you set off.

Use your heater

Foggy conditions outside can often cause your car windows to steam up very quickly. If this happens, switch on the de-misting function and turn on your heated rear window. If you’re in motion, the quickest way to demist the car is to open some of the windows.

Keep your distance

Keeping a sensible amount of space between you and the car in front is sensible on normal days but in foggy conditions it is even more imperative. Fog has played a key factor in some of the largest pile-ups on Britain’s roads, caused by drivers following each other too closely to be able to react. Leave a sensible gap between you and the car in front, and if another driver is following you too closely, don’t be tempted to react.

Slow down

In foggy conditions, it’s easier for motorists to lose perception of their road speed. As a result, some drivers end up driving faster than they normally would in clear conditions which is dangerous. Be mindful to drop your speed in the fog, and use objects you can see such as signs at the side of the road to get a clear idea of the visibility limitations.

Be mindful of road conditions

Fog coats everything with a damp, moist layer, in much the same way as light rain does. That includes the road surface, so it makes sense to take that into account when you’re driving. Furthermore, if it’s cold enough, the moist layer will turn to ice, which can make driving conditions even more hazardous. If this occurs, follow Trusted Dealers’ tips for driving in icy conditions and driving in the rain.

Posted by Leana Kell on 09/12/2016