Vehicle drivers must be cautious in fog

Petra Lessoing
Kaiserslautern American

***image1***In fall, a lot of traffic accidents happen. Bad visibility caused by fog and not keeping enough distance to the vehicle ahead can result in mass collisions.

According to the German automobile club ADAC, most accidents are avoidable if motorists adjust their driving habits and their vehicles’ lights to the circumstances. Many drivers judge visibility incorrectly, and cause accidents through excessive speed.
In fall, drivers must expect sudden fog at any time, especially near rivers, lakes, wooded areas and moorland.

The following tips can help motorists drive through fog safely:
Turn on the headlights at the first indication of fog. The vehicle will be seen more easily.

Expect poor visibility when vehicles with lights on approach from the opposite direction.
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.

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.
In thick fog, keep the radio’s volume low to avoid distraction.
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. If visibility is 150 meters, don’t drive faster than 100 kph.

Always count on vehicles to appear suddenly and the need to break immediately.
Don’t rely on the back light of the car in front. Keep enough distance, especially when the other car is slow moving.
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.

Don’t trust normal ability to estimate distance since fog causes blurriness and simulates greater distances.
Obey all warning signals. ADAC officials say motorists tend to overlook warning boards and blinking lights which warn of notorious “fog holes.”
Driving in fog requires full concentration. Motorists should take more breaks during long rides.
When stopping at a parking lot near the autobahn, ADAC officials recommend leaving lights on so approaching drivers can see the vehicle.