As a coastal state, Washington gets its fair share of fog every year. While the biggest fog seasons are in the summer, fogs still happen randomly year-round. Surprisingly, most Washingtonians are not the best at navigating in the fog despite its frequent appearance.
This is because no matter how good of a driver you are, driving in the fog is dangerous because your visibility is dramatically reduced. If you can – wait for the fog to lift before driving. If you have somewhere to be, consider these tips for driving safely in foggy conditions.
Slow Your Speed
Fog and speed are not a good combination. If you cannot see the ground in front of you, how do you know there is not a vehicle up ahead? Thick fog also masks visual indicators and rear-end lights on leading vehicles, so never assume that because you don’t see lights that there are no cars ahead of you. Instead, regulate your speed and keep it lower than normal, as it may be the only thing standing in between you and the bumper of the car ahead of you.
Use Your Low-Beam Headlights – Not High-Beam
It is a common mistake to use high-beam lights during foggy weather. If you have restricted visibly, you should use low-beam. High-beams will further inhibit your ability to see because they reflect off the fog and back onto your vehicle. Low-beam will not reflect and can help illuminate the road under the fog barrier.
Better, Install Fog Lights
If you can, install front fog lights on your vehicle. Many vehicles come with the fog light placements so that it is easy to add them later. Other times, your vehicle could come equipped with them. Regardless, if you are driving in the fog, use your fog lights. These make your vehicle easier to see for other motorists and help you see the road.
Stay to the Right
When the fog is too thick, stick to the right side of the road riding along the white painted line. Never use center pavement markings, because these push you toward other vehicles. Sticking to the right is best because you can see to the right easier than the center.
Never Stop on the Road
If you cannot see where you are going, you might feel the need to come to a full stop – even on the highway. No matter what, you do not want to stop during a fog. Find a safe spot where you can pull over and get yourself as far away from the road as possible. If you stop off to the side, turn off your lights so that other vehicles are not attracted to you. You can, however, leave your flashing hazard lights on so that drivers see your vehicle stopped.
Give Yourself Room
Do what you can to give yourself distance between your car and the one in front of you. The vehicle leading may suddenly stop because they cannot see or for traffic, and you need the extra space to react.
In an Accident? Contact an Attorney and Explore Your Options
If you were involved in an accident in the fog, you may wonder if you qualify for compensation. Typically, cases of poor weather are hard to receive compensation for, unless the other driver was especially negligent or reckless. Regardless, if you were involved in an accident and someone else caused that accident, you should speak with an attorney.
An attorney can determine if negligence applies and if you qualify for compensation.