If you're an Albertan like me, you're probably not used to thick fog on your commute to work. My friends and family over in BC look at this thick fog and they think nothing of it really. Today is just a regular Tuesday for them. For me? I was white knuckling it on my way into the city. In order to help my fellow Albertan's, here are 7 helpful tips to getting you through the fog safely.
1. Slow down
One of the most important things to remember when driving in the fog is to slow down. Not only will this help you react more quickly to any potential hazards, but it will also give you more time to make decisions and react to changing road conditions. Stay alert and stay vigilant.
2. Use your headlights
It's important to have your headlights on when driving in the fog, even during the day. This will help you see the road ahead, as well as make it easier for other drivers to see your vehicle. However, be sure to use your low beams rather than your high beams, as the latter can reflect off the fog and make it harder to see. If this is the moment you learned your fog lights don't work, make sure to get them replaced in the event you get caught in the fog at a later date.
3. Keep a safe following distance
With visibility greatly reduced, it's important to keep a safe following distance from the vehicle in front of you. This will give you more time to react to any sudden stops or turns and help avoid collisions. Take extra caution if you're on a busy road, maintain a safe following distance from the vehicle in front of you and behind you.
4. Watch out for sudden changes in visibility
Fog can be unpredictable and visibility can change quickly, so be prepared for sudden changes in visibility while driving. This can be especially true in areas where the fog is patchy or visibility varies from one section of road to another.
5. Keep an eye on the side of the Roadways
If you are commuting in a rural or wooded area, keep an extra sharp eye on the ditches and surrounding areas. Wildlife can be difficult to spot at the best of times and in foggy conditions it can be even more difficult. In more populated/urban settings, you need to remain vigilant for pulled over vehicles, cyclists, and/or pedestrians. With limited visibility, you need to be able to stop at a moments notice. Slow down and regularly scan the entire roadway.
6. Be ready to stop
With conditions of poor visibility, you need to be prepared to stop. In my case, I found it very difficult to make out traffic lights from a distance, you may not be able to clearly see the indication of the sign until you are quite close to it. Be prepared to stop for pedestrians, traffic lights, merging vehicles, or any number of other hazards. Maintaining active driving at slow speeds gives you the greatest chances of having the necessary reaction time.
7. Consider Rescheduling wherever you're going
Obviously not everyone has the luxury of being able to work from home, or rescheduling an appointment, but if you can stay off the roads, the likelihood of you getting into an accident becomes non-existent. If you simply cannot miss your appointment or need to make it into work, make sure to leave plenty of time in order to get their safely. You know that expression better late than never? This is one of those times that you should absolutely be late rather than driving in an unsafe way. It's better to be safe than sorry.
In conclusion, thick fog can obviously create a hazard on the road. If you're commuting it's important to take your time, reduce your speed, and keep a safe distance. Make sure you're patient with other drivers and keep your focus on the road.