Sample date: February 8, 2016

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Environment Canada
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Tips for Driving in Fog

This page was reviewed or revised on Wednesday, December 16, 2015 1:59 PM

Fact Sheet - Tips for Driving in the Fog (PDF)

While many drivers believe winter’s icy roads are the most dangerous driving hazard they face, fog actually poses the greatest on-road danger.

Fog is just a thin layer of cloud resting on the ground, but it can cause major problems because it reduces the distance we are able to see. Fog occurs most often in the spring and fall.

When the weather is foggy, the safest thing to do is to not to drive. You should call off your trip or delay it until the fog lifts. If you run into fog while driving, it is safest to move off the road to the shoulder and wait for it to lift. A crash, injury or even death is not worth the trip, no matter how important it is.

If you decide to stop, never stop in the middle of the road. Stopping on the road increases your chances of being hit because others have no way of seeing you, or avoiding you, until it is too late.

If you choose to continue, lower your speed. Studies show that some drivers drive faster in fog.

Drive with your low beam lights on, even if you feel they affect your ability to see. The headlight is the only part of your vehicle that oncoming drivers can see at a distance. Do not drive with your parking lights on during day-time hours. They do very little to make you more visible to other drivers, and they are intended to indicate that your car is parked.

Do not turn on your hazard lights. Drivers can be attracted to flashing lights and could drive into them. If you drive with
your hazards on, or if you constantly tap your brake pedal, you will make the driver behind you nervous and he may try passing you. This action puts lives in danger.

Hazard lights should only be used when you pull over to show that you are parked on the side of the road.

If you decide to drive in the fog consider using a road with less traffic. Be sure to use the right edge of the road as a guide instead of the centre line. This way you will not run into oncoming traffic or become bothered by their headlights. Always use your defroster and windshield wipers.

Tips for Driving in Fog:

  1. Delay or postpone your trip. Let someone know you will be late.
  2. Always use your low beam headlights. High beams reflect off the fog making it even harder for you to see.
  3. Your lights help other drivers see your vehicle, so be sure they all work. As part of your upkeep routine make a practice of walking around your vehicle to check your lights. Replace burned out bulbs right away, ensure they are aimed properly and keep them clean.
  4. Only use parking lights or hazard lights while parked on the side of the road.
  5. Reduce your speed to give yourself more time to react to possible dangers that appear suddenly.
  6. Do not pass other vehicles. It is easier to see better when you follow another vehicle, but be sure you are not too close in case you need to stop quickly.
  7. Maintain a safe driving distance away from vehicles around you.
  8. Drive with the radio off and with the window partly open to better hear other vehicles; especially at intersections.
  9. Be patient.

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