Top tips for driving in fog

28 November 2013

Road safety charity the IAM offers regular motoring tips from one of Britain’s top advanced drivers, Peter Rodger. This week he is advising motorists on how to drive safely through fog.

IAM chief examiner Peter Rodger said: "Fog is one of the most difficult conditions to drive in - crashes in fog make the news headlines often enough to remember them. Ensure you are prepared so that you can carry out your journey safely. Allow lots of extra time for the trip.”

Rodger offers tips for driving in the fog:

Before setting off, clean your windows and windscreen and ensure all your lights are working. Clean the inside of the screen as well – it helps prevent it misting up, the last thing you need when it’s already foggy outside! 

  • Switch the heater or air conditioning on and leave it running to keep the inside of the glass clear. Aircon helps dry the air – on a foggy day it can really help.
  • Use your windscreen wipers on an intermittent setting to keep the screen clear.
  • When you’re ready to leave, switch on the dipped headlights. Use fog lights if visibility is less than 100 metres, but don’t forget to switch them off when visibility improves.
  • Do not rely on the car’s daylight running lights – they may not put the back lights on.
  • Slow down and keep enough distance between yourself and the vehicle in front - make sure you can stop safely within the distance you can see clearly.
  • Fog is not the same density all the time – when it gets thicker, slow down.
  • Brake gently but earlier than usual so your brake lights warn drivers behind.
  • Be aware that other vehicles may be travelling without their lights on, and pedestrians and cyclists will be hard to see anyway, so extra care and attention is needed.
  • At junctions, wind the window down and listen for traffic.  If you have electric windows, open the passenger one to listen that way as well.
  • Straining to see through thick fog will quickly make you tired – take regular breaks.
  • Don’t overtake a queue on the dual carriageway, and expect it to be as clear in front of it. The queue will have cleared the fog where it is, and you will hit a wall of thicker fog at the front.
Rodger says: "Don’t underestimate the effect fog has on what you can see, and how easily seen you are.  Adjusting to the weather conditions is vital, and will help you to become a safer and more confident driver through the winter months.”