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In a fog? Defensive driving tips

April 21, 2015


This week’s safety share is inspired by spring’s typical hot-and-cold weather, and the need to stay alert in foggy driving conditions.

As experienced drivers know, warm, wet spring weather can introduce a seasonal road hazard in the form of mist or fog. In fact, the reduced visibility of heavy fog is one of the most dangerous hazards we can face on wheels.

According to the Canadian Encyclopedia, major centres in Canada that experience the most fog include St. John’s, Newfoundland, with fog reported on an average of 126 days per year, and  nearby Argentia, which holds the distinction of being the foggiest place in the country, averaging 206 days per year.

Wherever you live, here’s how to pay heed to local weather conditions and drive more safely in fog:

• Adapt to conditions. Fog most often occurs in early morning or late evening. Be aware of local areas that tend to accumulate fog such as low-lying areas near lakes, rivers and coasts. When possible, avoid driving in these conditions or give yourself extra time if driving is a must.

• Shed some light. If you don’t have fog lamps, use low beams, which direct light down on the road and help other drivers see you. Never use high beams, as they direct light up into the fog, making it more difficult to see.

• Slow down. Take your time in conditions of low visibility. The distance you keep between yourself and the vehicle in front of you should increase from the normal two seconds up to five seconds.

• Avoid drifting. Bad visibility can be disorienting, and may pose a danger of wandering into the middle of the road. Use the right edge of the road as a guide to help stay clear of oncoming traffic or being blinded by oncoming headlights.

• Exaggerate your signals. Use cautionary lights for a longer time period when turning, changing lanes or breaking, to ensure that vehicles around you are aware of any moves you plan to make.

• Get off the road. In zero visibility, it’s safest to pull off of the road completely if you can get into a safe parking area. Turn off your driving lights and turn on your hazards so others know you are there, but indicate you aren’t driving.

Always practice safe and defensive driving and share practical ways that your friends and family can do the same.

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