Autumn is the season of fog. When there is fog and low visibility, a lot of accidents, even mass collisions, happen due to driving too fast and not keeping enough distance.
Officials of the German automobile club, ADAC, recommend that motorists adjust their driving habits and their vehicles’ lights to the circumstances to avoid accidents. Many drivers judge visibility incorrectly, and cause accidents through excessive speed. If foggy, motorists should plan on more time to get somewhere. Time pressure is the biggest enemy when visibility is bad.
In fall, drivers should expect sudden fog at any time, especially near rivers, lakes, wooded areas and moorland.
The following tips can help driving through fog safely:
G Turn on the headlights at the first indication of fog. The vehicle will be seen more easily.
G Expect poor visibility when vehicles with their lights on approach from the opposite direction.
G Turn on the windshield wipers from time to time. If the fog is dense, keep them on constantly. Fog settles on the windshield and limits visibility.
G Keep the windows (inside and outside), headlights and tail lights clean.
Drive as far to the right as possible, but watch out for bicyclists. Hazard lights should be on for a sudden stop.
G In thick fog, keep the radio’s volume low to avoid distraction.
G Adjust speed to range of sight. If visibility is only 50 meters ahead, don’t drive faster than 50 kilometers per hour. If it’s 100 meters, don’t drive faster than 80 kph, and if visibility is 150 meters, don’t drive faster than 100 kph.
G Always count on vehicles appearing suddenly and the need to brake immediately.
G Don’t rely on the tail lights of a car. Keep enough distance, especially when the other car is moving slowly.
G Focus on the safety poles, not the center stripes. The poles on the right side always have rectangular reflectors, and those on the left have two round reflectors. The density of fog can be estimated by the distance of those safety poles. On regular roads, the distance between two poles is 25 meters and on the autobahn it’s 50 meters.
G Don’t trust normal ability to estimate distance since fog causes blurriness and simulates greater distances.
G Obey all warning signals. ADAC officials say motorists tend to overlook warning boards and blinking lights which warn of notorious “fog holes.”
G Driving in fog requires full concentration. Motorists should take more breaks during long rides.
G When stopping at a parking lot near the autobahn, leave lights on so approaching drivers can see the vehicle.
(Courtesy of German automobile club ADAC)