Fog lights, clear path to safe driving
By Staff Sgt. Matthew Berrett, 100th Civil Engineer Squadron Readiness and Emergency Management
/ Published October 11, 2016
RAF MILDENHALL, England --
During the autumn and winter months, dangers on the roads increase. The weather will begin to fluctuate, and with the fluctuation comes fog.
Fog can form many ways, one of which happens, when cold air from the night or early morning conditions reacts with the release of heat from the ground that was absorbed the day prior. Fog is also formed when warm, moist air travels over a cold surface.
Regardless of how it forms, fog is a dangerous driving condition that confronts drivers. When fog is present, it’s safer to postpone a journey until it has cleared. However, if delaying a journey is not possible, or if you get caught in fog, the following tips may be useful:
- Slow down. Much like any road hazard or incident, speed can be the worst enemy. Even being a confident driver, fog can make driving more difficult and dangerous. Slow down to a safe, manageable speed to fit the conditions, which could mean less than the posted speed limit. Also, keep an eye on the speedometer. Fog can create a feeling of slow motion by removing visual speed indicators.
- Use fog lights. In the UK it’s a legal requirement to have a red rear fog light. Having front fog lights is optional, but using them increases safety. Fog lights should be used when visibility is reduced to around 100 meters or less. However, they should not be used when there is no fog or inclement weather, and where visibility is not reduced.
Once the fog has cleared, remember to turn off fog lights to avoid dazzling other drivers. In foggy conditions, never stop on the road, as the possibility of being rear ended increases.
If the car stalls or becomes disabled on a road, move it as far away from the traffic as possible. If moving off the road isn't an option, turn the vehicle’s hazard warning lights on, get out of the car, move away from the vehicle and call 101 to notify emergency services.
Following these simple safety tips — watch speed, turn fog lights on or off as needed and never stop on the road — helps reduce the dangers that come from driving in foggy conditions.
Reference the U.K Highway Code, General Rules, techniques and advice for all drivers and riders, 4. Lighting requirements, for clarification on when lights should be used.
Remember, don’t get complacent while driving. Thinking ahead and driving safely helps save lives.