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Be clear on driving safely in fog

Now that winter is well and truly here, we can set our minds to enjoying the season by spending guilt-free evenings in front of the fire.

A mechanic

While hibernation season may be well and truly upon us, that doesn't mean we can avoid going to work, doing the food shop or heading off to visit friends and family, no matter how hard it may be to leave your duvet in the cold, dark mornings.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, winter is the least favourite time for motorists to get behind the wheel as a result of reduced visibility from poor weather such as fog, the glare of low sun and darker evenings.

What's more, research commissioned by Scrivens Opticians & Hearing Care revealed over a quarter (28%) of car accidents happen in the winter.

But don't go hanging up your car keys just yet. In preparation for Road Safety Week 2016, which takes place between 21-27 November, we've put together some top tips for driving safely in one of winter's worst weather conditions: fog.

Only drive if it's necessary

Did you know?

The top 5 driving anxieties are:

  1. Snowy weather
  2. Other drivers
  3. Low sun
  4. Driving in the dark
  5. Lorries

According to Scrivens research

Even a confident driver can find driving in fog unnerving, with the low visibility making driving difficult and dangerous.

So, before you head out, ask yourself this: Is your journey really necessary? You can't use fog as an excuse to not go into work, but if you're just heading to the shops, put your feet up and head off when it clears.

Check your lights

During the autumn and winter months there's an increased chance of fog, so make sure your lights are working before you set off. It's also a good idea to get familiar with operating your front and rear fog lights ahead of your journey, especially if you've recently purchased a new car.

Using your lights

Did you know?

  • The stopping distance in icy weather is 10 times as long as the normal stopping distance.
  • This equates to 230 metres if you're travelling at 30mph in icy or snowy conditions
  • The stopping distance in wet weather is more than double that of normal driving conditions.
  • This equates to at least 46 metres if you're travelling at 30mph in wet conditions.

Source: Driving in adverse weather conditions — gov.uk

The Highway Code states that you must use headlights when visibility is significantly reduced. This generally tends to be when you can't see more than 100m in front — roughly the length of a football pitch.

To improve your vision and make sure other road users can see you in good time; make sure your headlamp switch is set to the dipped beam setting.

Even if there's no one around you, don't switch on your full beam. The fog will reflect the light back at you, reducing your visibility rather than improving it.

Fog lights

Some drivers avoid switching their fog lights on as they're worried about dazzling motorists, but when it comes to using fog lights, it's all about using common sense.

If you're struggling to see other vehicles on the road, switch your fog lights on. But don't keep switching them on and off, as this can be a distraction to other drivers.

Switch them off, front and back, when there's consistent improvement in visibility.

Listen out

Lastly, when visibility is poor you have to rely more on your other senses. At a junction, turn your music off and wind down your window so you can listen out for any traffic.

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