The other morning, when the temperature showed hopeful signs of finally climbing out of the polar vortex range, I found myself stuck on a stretch of Interstate 70 between Columbia and St. Louis. The early morning fog, rolling off of snow-covered farm fields, shrouded the countryside like a heavy, impenetrable blanket. All of this—the stillness of the early morning, the fog blanketing farm fields still covered in ice and snow—would have made for delightful poetry had it not been for the harrowing driving conditions and sheer idiocy—yes absolute insanity—of some of my fellow drivers.
Cars flew blindly past me at 60-70 mph, oblivious of slower-moving vehicles directly ahead. Several drivers, obviously looking at their watches as opposed to road conditions, were driving without headlights. One guy, overcome with a bad case of road rage, tailgated and blared his horn at a car traveling next to me in the fast lane. I vowed that if I ever made it back to St. Louis alive, my next blog would be dedicated to the perils of driving in foggy conditions and advice for driving safely.
Safety Tips for Driving in Foggy Conditions
- SLOW DOWN! There is absolutely no place worth getting to on time if it costs you or someone else their health or life. Never speed in fog.
- Provide ample distance between your car and the next guy. I’m not talking about tailgating. When it’s foggy, you need to keep a count time of at least 5 seconds between you and the next car, as opposed to the usual 2 seconds.
- Fog is actually a thick cloud composed of tiny water droplets. Keep your defroster on and use your wipers frequently to keep moisture from collecting on your windshield and obstructing your view.
- Use your regular headlights or fog lights (if your car is equipped with them), not your brights. Your high beams are made for seeing in the dark but will impair your visibility by bouncing off and reflecting the fog. If you have fog lights, typically mounted low or below the front bumper, use them. They are better for illuminating the roadway while allowing other drivers to see you. Whatever you do, DO NOT DRIVE WITHOUT LIGHTS. Other drivers may not be able to see you until they’re on top of you.
- Watch out for freezing fog, the conditions in which I was driving the other morning. If the temperature outside is near or below freezing, fog can cause black ice, creating treacherous driving conditions. I saw one or two cars in my rear-view mirror hit nearly-invisible icy patches, causing them to fishtail and skid off the road.
- Many accidents that occur in fog are because drivers cannot see the center line and drift over. Be aware of your car’s position at all times. Use the right edge of the road as a guide to avoid the tendency to drift and to prevent being blinded by the headlights of oncoming traffic.
- Deer and other animals come out to feed at dusk, when the lighting is similar to that encountered in fog. They are emboldened by the “safety” of the semi-dark. Exercise extreme caution at all times, maintaining a lookout for animals darting across the roadway.
- PULL OVER IF YOU CAN’T SEE OR YOU ARE FRIGHTENED BY THE CONDITIONS. But remember to pull as far off to the side of the road as possible. Turn on your hazard lights so other drivers can see you.
Finally, if you or a loved one has been injured due to the negligent behavior of someone driving recklessly in foggy conditions, call our top accident lawyers to consult with us about the harms and losses you have suffered. Accidents, even those that occur in dense fog, are ultimately preventable. Call us at 314-409-7060 or 855-40-CRASH (toll free). We’re standing by to help you get the compensation you need and deserve.