Fog and rain driving safety
Driving through fog, rain and thunderstorms is frightening. Safety is critical.
When you left home and started driving to work, the weather was fine, and the coast was clear. Then out of nowhere, all Hades broke loose.
You find yourself driving through fog that is thick as soup or in a torrential downfall that is completely obscuring your vision. This is a frightening experience. Fog can cause multi-car pile ups. Rain can cause a myriad of complications -- like hydroplaning and skidding -- for a driver.
If you find yourself in bad weather conditions, take a deep breath, get a grip and slow down your vehicle. There are techniques you can use for fog and rain driving safety.
In dense fog, drive with your headlights on low beam. Parking or fog lights are not sufficient. Open your window so you can listen for traffic that you cannot see. Turn off your radio.
Do not use your high beams when you are driving in fog because you will get a bad reflection, particularly at night, which makes the situation even worse. If you see taillights or headlights in front of you, slow down and keep a safe distance between your vehicle and others.
If the fog is so thick that your vision is completely obscured, and if possible, get off of the road. Driving at 5- to 10 mph can dangerous and puts you at risk of being rear-ended. If you pull off the road, drive a good distance from the shoulder, being careful not to hit trees or other obstacles. Turn off your headlights so that other distressed drivers do not follow you, thinking that you are on the road.
To prevent your car windows from fogging up on the inside during a thunderstorm, put the heat control on hot and then turn on the defogger/defroster and blower. If your windshield begins to fog on the inside, open a window and adjust the defroster to a higher speed. If necessary, turn on the air conditioning because this will reduce moisture and humidity that is collecting on the inside of your car windows. Managing the interior climate of your vehicle, including the windows, is a critical component of fog and rain driving safety.
When there is a lot of water on the pavement your car can hydroplane. This means that your vehicle is riding on a thin layer of water that is present between the road and the tires. When your vehicle hydroplanes it loses contract with the road. If this happens, ease your foot off of the accelerator, do not brake suddenly or jerk the steering wheel. The traction should return.
Drive in the tire prints of the vehicle in front of you because these prints have already been displaced and your car can get better traction, preventing hydroplaning.
If your vehicle goes into a skid, and it is equipped with anti-lock brakes, you may experience a vibration or side-to-side shudder when you press down on the brake. This is what your car is supposed to do. It has been designed for rain driving safety. Hold the brake pedal down firmly. Do not lift your foot from the pedal or pump the pedal. The sensors in the anti-lock brakes are adapting to the wet road, which makes the pedal vibrate.
Never speed through standing water because the water can cause your brakes to go out. After driving through deep water, gently pump your brakes a few times, which helps dry them out.
Do not drive through a flooded area. Just six
inches of water can make you lose control of your car. Water is very powerful
and can sweep you and your car away.
If a vehicle passes you the spray from the car can temporarily blind you. This can also occur when oncoming traffic goes by. Anticipate a windshield flood and turn your wipers to high speed.
Do not drive too closely to the vehicle in front of you because braking distance is vastly increased when driving in wet conditions. In other words, do not tail gate. That is asking for trouble.
Regularly check your windshield wipers to make sure that they are working properly. There is nothing worse than being caught in the middle of a monsoon and discovering that your wipers are not working correctly and are merely smearing up your windshield, obscuring your vision, or worse.