Winter is coming! Well, it's actually here but saying 'winter's here' won't have as much of an impact, especially to a GOT fan. You might like us to talk about big mugs of hot chocolate or steaming bowls of soup but we're a motoring website and hence we'll talk cars and bikes - more on the lines of how to stay safe when the treacherous smog kicks in. The situation with the fog this year so far is thankfully not as bad as we've witnessed before but we've got to be prepared. Some very simple tips for driving in foggy conditions can ensure your safety.
Rule number one: a road blanketed with fog is no place to have fun. If you plan to throw yourself challenges like 'who can drive the fastest with minimal visibility', we have one thing to say: 'Don't Do It!' But do these.
1. Busting a myth: A common myth prevails amongst road users that high beam will light up the road better since there will be more light. Truth is: keep the headlamps of your car on low beam for better visibility. Blasting big lights on the fog ahead means more light will reflect off it like its an empty white canvas, making it more difficult for your eyes to adjust. If your car has fog lamps, good. If not, aftermarket fog lamps are easily available. But if you haven't had the chance to install them, keep the headlights on low beam to light up the lower part ahead of your car.
2. Maintain a safe distance from the vehicle ahead. It's common to see vehicles tailing each other during foggy conditions so the one ahead can act as a heads up, but a smaller distance from it gives you a shorter window to react if it hits emergency brakes. Go slow or a reasonable pace even if you think the highway does not have much traffic.
3. You need to keep your reflexes sharp. No one expects you train as a ninja but turn off the music, be alert and honk at intersections or turns (that is no excuse to sit on the horn either). Avoid unnecessary lane changes.
4. Busting another myth: Hazard lights need not be switched on while driving, use them only if you have to stop for some reason. However, try to avoid stopping on highways if you don't really have to. The purpose of hazards comes in only if you have to stop for an emergency or warn other drivers of an accident up ahead.
5. The fog outside is cold and hence causes condensation to build upon the windscreen and windows. If your car does not have a defogger, roll down the windows slightly and use the car's heater on the windshield to clear the moisture. Agreed, rolling down the windows a bit can make it a little cold for the occupants but you must do it - for the greater good.
Keep these simple but very important tips in mind and you shall emerge out of the fog safe and sound. If a headlamp or a tail lamp or indicator is not functioning, get it fixed without fail – it is very important. Those lights up front and at the rear of your car make your presence known to other road users. Drive safe!