Driving in Rain and Fog
Rain can quickly create dangerous driving conditions, and is blamed for thousands of accidents annually. Most accidents result from drivers who don’t realize how much driving changes in wet weather compared to dry conditions. For example, during the first few hours of a rainstorm, accumulated oil and engine fluids can float on the rainwater and create a slippery road surface before they are eventually washed away. This risk is increased when an area that receives little precipitation is hit by a downpour.
Fog is another hazard drivers face: it can rapidly reduce a driver’s vision, making for hazardous conditions in an instant. To help navigate when driving in heavy fog – or in any situation with reduced visibility – you can use the right edge of the road or painted road markings as a guide.
A good rule to follow is whenever you turn on your windshield wipers, turn on your lights, as you’ll be more visible to other motorists. Keep your headlights on low beam, especially in the case of fog, as the additional light reflects of the water droplets in the air, actually making it harder to see.
MORE SAFE DRIVING TIPS IN LOW VISIBILITY FROM FHP
Visibility can change within seconds, so use extreme caution when driving within fog. To make sure drivers know what to do when you encounter fog, the Florida Highway Patrol urges the motoring public to travel with caution anytime there is reduced visibility. Wildfires, smoke, fog and heavy rain can all lower visibility on the roads so it is important for motorist to drive as safely as possible in these conditions.
- DRIVE WITH LIGHTS on low beam. High beams will only be reflected back off the fog and actually impair visibility even more. Your lights help other drivers see your vehicle, so be sure they all work. Keep your windshield and headlights clean, to reduce the glare and increase visibility.
- SLOW DOWN – and watch your speedometer – before you enter a patch of fog. Be sure that you can stop within the distance that you can see. Fog creates a visual illusion of slow motion when you may actually be speeding. Speed is a major factor in fog-related crashes.
- WATCH OUT for slow-moving and parked vehicles. Open you window a little and listen for traffic you cannot see.
- REDUCE THE DISTRACTIONS in your vehicle. Turn off the radio and cell phone. Your full attention is required.
- USE WIPERS AND DEFROSTERS liberally for maximum visibility. Sometimes it is difficult to determine if poor visibility is due to fog or moisture on the windshield.
- USE THE RIGHT EDGE of the road or painted road markings as a guide.
- BE PATIENT. Avoid passing and/or changing lanes.
- SIGNAL TURNS well in advance and brake early as you approach a stop.
- DO NOT STOP on a freeway or heavily traveled road. You could become the first link in a chain-reaction collision. If you must pull off the road, signal (people tend to follow tail lights when driving in fog), then carefully pull off as far as possible. After pulling off the road, turn on your hazard flashers (hazard lights should only be used when you pull over to show that you are parked on the side of the road). Move away from the vehicle.