Blog Best Tips For Driving In Fog

Apr 16, 2021

What Should You Do When Driving In Fog?

Cars driving on highway in fog

Did you know that there is an increased risk of collision due to low visibility during fog?

On average, there are over 25,000 crashes and close to 500 deaths from driving in fog. MTO advises against driving in fog, but sometimes it can’t be avoided, or it happens while you are already on the road. Staying safe means you need to make adjustments to your driving and the reduced visibility with fog.

It’s a common myth that if an accident happens during inclement weather, no one is at-fault. No matter the weather, you are expected to take safety precautions. Here is how to be a safe driver when the fog rolls in.

12 Best Tips To Drive Safe In Fog

It’s not only driving in winter where roads can become hazardous. Fog can appear on roads when the warm air makes contact with the cooler surface air. When driving in autumn or spring, you may be faced with fog covered roads. This occurrence is common around the Great Lakes and low areas.

Although you can’t control the weather, there are many safety tips to keep in mind when driving in the fog. Here are 12 things to keep in mind if you need to drive in fog :

  1. Drive according to the conditions : Slow down gradually and be mindful of the conditions – you’ll likely be driving slower than the posted speed.
  2. Increase following distance : Fog limits visibility between one and two kilometres; you’ll want to ensure you have enough stopping distance and space between you and other drivers. Double the two-second rule and leave four seconds of distance.
  3. Use low beam or fog lights : Make sure your lights are on. If your car is not equipped with fog lights, use your low beams.
  4. Check the weather and conditions : Before hitting the road, check the weather and road conditions on the route to help you plan accordingly or wait until the fog lifts.
  5. Limit distractions : Turn down the radio, put your phone away, let a passenger navigate the GPS. Limiting distractions while driving can help you stay focused on the road and what’s happening around you.
  6. Keep mirrors and windows clean : Use the defroster and wipers to increase your field of vision. Always keep your washer fluid topped up and leave an extra in your vehicle.
  7. Watch your speedometer : Fog can hide how fast you are travelling – check your speedometer to see your speed.
  8. Stay in your lane : When possible, avoid changing lanes and passing other vehicles.
  9. Use pavement markings as a guide : Use the markings on the right side as a guide, rather than the centerline.
  10. Look ahead : As always, look ahead when you are driving to plan for what is to come.
  11. Watch for emergency vehicles : Listen and look for any emergency vehicles behind you or ahead of you.
  12. Be aware of wildlife : If you drive rural roads, wildlife may be harder to spot in the fog.

If the conditions become too much, use your signal, pull off to the side of the road and wait it out. If there is a service center or parking lot nearby, consider stopping there. Turn on your hazards and keep your lights on. Never stop in the middle of the road.

If you do experience an accident, brush up on how to file a car insurance claim.

3 Things Not To Do When Driving In Fog

When driving in the fog, it can be helpful to remember to avoid these three things :

  1. Do not use your high beams : High beams can cause the moisture in fog to shine directly back to you, making your vision even worse and causing glare,.
  2. Avoid cruise control : When conditions are less than ideal, you want complete control of your vehicle so you can react.
  3. Never speed up suddenly : Even if the fog seems to be clearing, or you want to pass another vehicle, increasing your speed is dangerous. This could also cause you to brake suddenly, which can cause a chain reaction and pileup.

What Lights Should You Use When Driving In Fog?

cars driving on rural road in fog

When driving in fog, it is suggested to use your low beams, not high beams. Most vehicles come with fog lights specifically designed to shine below the fog line (20-24 inches from the ground). This helps the lights from reflecting off the water particles, unlike regular headlights, which are higher and reflect more.

Although fog lights will not light up the road more, they allow you to see the road clearer and make driving in fog safer. Your vehicle will also be more visible to other drivers.

LED vs Halogen Fog Lights

A common debate is if LED fog lights are better than halogen. LED tends to be more expensive, but they last much longer – halogen often lasts 18-24 months, compared to years for LED. The white light can also pierce through fog much stronger than the yellow lights from halogen.

If you have LED lights, remember they can cause more glare in fog. When you are doing car maintenance, check to see if your fog lights are positioned correctly to work to their optimal ability. Keep in mind these fixes will likely not be covered under your Ontario auto insurance.

Driving In Fog Safety FAQs

If you have to drive in fog, slow down and turn on your lights and fog lights if you have them installed with your car.

Ensure your windows and mirrors are clear, use low beams or fog lights, and use the right pavement painting as a guide.

Fog drastically limits how far drivers can see. It is crucial to slow down, drive without distractions, and do not use your high beams.

Stay Safe When Driving in Fog

Along with practicing safe driving, it's important to make sure your car insurance quote will adequately protect you if there is an accident while driving in the fog.