There have been several reports of accidents in the mist and fog and toll road operator Trac N4 has warned road users to be extremely cautious when driving in these conditions. Road users often fail to change their driving behavior and we would like to share advice on how a few changes in driving can prevent many of these accidents.
When confronted by foggy conditions while driving, we would like to advise the following safe driving measures:
- When driving in fog, reduce your speed and turn on your headlights – Make sure that you can be seen.
- The lamps should be used when your view is less than 100 metres in front of you – they will increase your view as well as help other drivers see you better.
- Do not use your high beam headlights during fog. The bright light affects your vision by creating a reflection of the mist, which lessons your ability to see while driving.
- Don’t rely on your parking lights alone: they do little to increase your visibility in daytime fog.
- Don’t use your emergency flasher. Studies have shown that drivers are attracted to flashing lights and tend to drive into them inadvertently.
- Consider the drivers behind you and what they are seeing.
- If you drive with your emergency flashers on or keep tapping your brake pedal, you’ll make them nervous and they may try and pass you, a procedure that places both your lives in danger.
- Beware of other drivers not using headlights.
Always control your speed – You need to allow for enough space between your car and the one in front of you.
- Keep your minimum safety gap to three seconds in ideal conditions; with the decreased visibility fog causes, this interval should be increased substantially.
- Think about how far you can see and how long it will take you to stop.
- Use the edge of the road as a guide rather than the centre line, to avoid running into oncoming traffic or becoming distracted by their headlights.
- Never stop in the middle of the road – you will be rear-ended.
- Remember that other drivers have a limited sight distance and that fog can leave roadways slick.
- Signal your intentions early, and when you use your brakes, don’t stomp on them.
- Do not attempt to pass other vehicles in foggy conditions – Remain calm and patient!
- Look and listen for any hazards that may be ahead – Reduce the distractions in your vehicle. Turn off the cell phone…your full attention is required.
- At a junction with limited visibility, stop, wind down the window, and listen for traffic. When you are sure it is safe to emerge, do so positively and do not hesitate in a position that puts you directly in the path of approaching vehicles.
- Watch for any electronically operated warning signs.
- If you can’t drive any further, pull well onto the shoulder, getting your vehicle completely off the road in a protected area from other traffic.
- Once you have left the road, turn off your driving lights and turn on your flashers so others know you’re there but won’t think you are driving on the road.
Once you are able to continue your journey – Don’t speed up suddenly, even if the fog seems to be clearing. You could find yourself suddenly back in fog.
Most important is that “not being able to see” is no defence in the event of an accident. If you cannot see –you may not drive!! Where visibility is poor –adjust your driving to the conditions and reduce your speed!!
May the suggestions above assist you when driving in foggy/ misty conditions!
[Photo of Giraffe in the mist by Denese Lups]