There are more than 1.5 million weather-related vehicle accidents each year in the United States. Of those accidents, fog claims the lives of around 600.
Fog is essentially a 'cloud' on the ground. Knowing how to drive in foggy road conditions may help you reach your destination safely.
Fog can be nothing more than a travel inconvenience or it can be the culprit behind massive, chain-reaction pile-ups with multiple casualties.
Driving in the fog can be just as dicey as navigating on roads during other types of inclement weather according to AAA Carolinas Spokesperson Angela Daley.
"Even though you think driving out in snow, rain or ice may be dangerous, people don't usually see fog as being dangerous," Daley said.
Visibility is the biggest challenge because the lack of distance and depth perception warps a driver's ability to gauge their speed.
"The first rule of thumb is to slow down," Daley said. "Fog gives you the illusion that you are traveling more slowly than you actually are."
Only use your low beams, or on some vehicles the fog lights, to minimize glare coming off the cloud of water droplets.
"If the fog is so severe that you need to pull off to the side of the road, you should do that, but turn off your lights," Daley said.
There have been a number of incidents where drivers who were trying to follow the lights of another vehicle, crashed into a stopped vehicle on the shoulder of the road because they thought the stopped driver's tail lights were leading the way.
In general, increasing your following distance is advised when heading through fog.
"Usually, we recommend that you have a stopping distance of about three to four seconds, but you should increase that to six to seven seconds or even more depending on how severe the fog is," Daley advised.
If you encounter a wall of dense fog, you'll need to rely on something other than your vision to navigate.
"Roll down your window so you can hear the traffic around you," Daley recommended. "Your sight isn't as good as it would normally be, so your hearing can also help you."
Like most weather events, fog usually lifts in a few hours, but if you can't adjust the timing of your travel plans, make sure you adjust your driving on the way to your destination.
AAA also recommends following the line on the right side of the road as you try to make your way down the highway. Often drivers hug the middle lines in an attempt to keep their course. With poor visibility, that puts you at greater risk of crashing into oncoming traffic by drifting and misjudging the direction.
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