Weather patterns can be fickle. One moment it may be chilly and sunny, while the next warm and wet. As a new season arrives, fog may roll in along with it.
Fog occurs during extremely humid conditions. For fog to be present, some type of dust or air pollution also needs to be present in the air so that microscopic water particles can surround it. According to the National Geographic Society, fog occurs when water vapor, or water in its gaseous form, condenses. During condensation, molecules of water vapor combine to make tiny liquid water droplets that hang in the air. You can see fog because of these tiny water droplets.
While fog can be a marvel to behold — completely obscuring landmarks or mountains in some instances — it can make driving challenging. Even seasoned drivers find fog is dangerous and difficult to drive in. The Federal Highway Administration says fog may contribute to more than 500 fatalities each year.
When driving in foggy conditions, drivers' full attention needs to be directed to the road. These tips also can help keep drivers safe when navigating foggy conditions.
• Reduce speed. Slowing down affords you more reaction time if traffic stops or if other hazards seemingly appear out of nowhere. Leave considerable space between cars.
• Engage the wipers. Improve visibility as much as possible by turning on the windshield wipers and the defroster to help.
• Use low beams. Make sure your vehicle is as visible as possible to others. Turn on the low-beam headlights so your car is noticeable to other motorists. High beams can cause glare, so avoid them, however tempting it may be to use them.
• Drive in the right lane. Use the lines and reflectors on the right side of the road to help guide your direction, suggests AccuWeather.
• Remain engaged. Do not use cruise control or allow any distractions in the car when driving in fog. Turn off the radio, put your phone away and focus on driving.
• Take a break. If the fog is greatly compromising your visibility, pull over in a safe spot or parking lot until it dissipates. Make sure to put on your hazard lights. The California DMV says the best advice for driving in fog is not to do so.
Driving in fog can be tricky and unsafe. Always exercise caution when fog rolls in.