5 tips to stay safe while driving in fog
Fog is one of those conditions that’s truly magical when you’re walking through it – but somewhat less romantic when you’re driving. Sometimes you can see it coming from a while off, and other times you can find yourself right in the thick of it before you’ve fully had time to get your bearings. The immediate limit on your visibility can make driving a lot more difficult, especially in a van.
Now, as experts in the best cheap van deals here at Van Discount, we know a thing or two about the capabilities of modern vans in fog. But it’s not always about the technology – you can save yourself a lot of headaches just by making sure you know exactly how to react. To make things easier, here are our top tips.
Light the way
Good lights are the perfect antidote to low visibility, right? Well actually, as tempting as it is to opt for the full-beam headlights when you hit dense fog, they’re actually not as helpful as you might think. Full beam lights can reflect back off fog, and further reduce your visibility. Instead, we’d advise going for your dipped beams instead. These point into the road and light up the tarmac directly in your path, helping to avoid reflection from the fog and allowing you to navigate the conditions more safely.
Your fog lights will be the next most likely option – and you’ll be happy to hear that they do exactly what they say on the tin. This is largely because the lights themselves are positioned low to the ground where the fog isn’t as thick, and produce high-intensity light that can cut through fog and improve your overall visibility, in what can be a pretty treacherous setting.
You shouldn’t have too much trouble finding yours – most vans sold in the UK come with both front and fear fog lights as standard. (But it’s a good thing to double-check before you make a purchase!)
There’s also your insurance to consider in all this. It’s illegal in the UK to drive in poor visibility without ample lighting, so if you fail to turn on any of your lights, and you’re involved in an accident, not only would you be ineligible for a claim, but you could face a hefty fine. It’s not just about turning your lights on – you’ve also got to match them to the conditions!
Beat the cold
You can improve your visibility further by using your heater to remove any cold patches on your windscreen. Turning on the heating and knocking it up by a couple of notches sends the airflow towards your windows, countering the temperature disparity caused by the cold outside, and removing the patches. (This isn’t a quick process though – it can take a bit of time to achieve full visibility!)
Hit the brakes
Your stopping distance makes all the difference in foggy conditions like this, so it’s always a good idea to give yourself as much room as you need to – and then a bit more. We’d advise allowing for at least a four-second gap between your vehicle and and the one in front, instead of the usual two seconds, to make up for the damp conditions.
Be sure to give other drivers room to be unpredictable – especially if their stopping distances might be longer or shorter than yours. The average stopping distance for a car travelling at 70mph is 96m, and that’s when conditions are dry. In wet, damp or foggy conditions, that distance is doubled, so if you’re travelling significantly faster than someone in front of you when they start braking, an accident is almost inevitable. Be very careful when overtaking!
Even something as simple as turning down your radio can do wonders for improving your concentration levels. Fog can be particularly dangerous at a blind junction, so it might be worth rolling down your windows if you find yourself in this difficult scenario so you can hear any oncoming traffic. It might be a lot colder for a moment, but it’s also a lot safer!
If you have any advance warning of fog – whether as a driver or for the fleets you manage – it’s always worth looking to see if you can delay, divert or rearrange the journey.
And if your vans have a long history of active service behind them, inclement conditions like fog, snow, or heavy rain can all end up exposing some of the more critical flaws. So if you decide your fleet needs expanding, or any of your vehicles need replacing, that’s where we can help here at Van Discount.
We save our customers an average of 40% off the price of a new van, ranging from Luton vans, box body vans and Curtainside vans, and more – all from a variety of top manufacturers, including Citroen, Ford and Peugeot. If you’re looking for advice, our in-house experts are happy to answer any of your queries. Just call 01282 872 530, and we’ll get you sorted!