Driving with poor visibility
Automatic headlamps are often not enough in foggy conditions
More and more often when the weather gets cold, road users are driving through fog. When it comes to driving with poor visibility, DEKRA’s experts have some advice to offer: maintain a good distance, adjust speed, and turn on the low beams.
- Stay well back instead of tailgating the vehicle in front
- Make sure you can stop within visible area ahead
- Fog lights have the advantage of casting a wider beam
Fog lights have the advantage of casting a wider beam of light than the normal low-beam headlamps as well as better illuminating the pavement immediately in front of the vehicle. And if the low beams are left switched off, this will also reduce the level of glare for the driver. When driving in foggy conditions in the dark, it can be useful to switch back and forth between fog lights and low beams to find the best compromise between road illumination and glare. High beams should always be avoided in these situations, as they are strongly reflected by the fog and will only worsen visibility.
Another way to improve visibility is to keep the windshield wipers running in the intermittent setting. This will wipe away droplets of fog that settle on the windshield. It is also a good idea to regularly clean dirt from the headlamps, which can significantly reduce visibility, especially on wet and dirty roads.
“As a rule, when the weather is foggy, the approach should be to keep an assured clear distance,” Ancona explains. This means that drivers should stay within a speed range that allows them to stop inside the visible stretch of road ahead. “First and foremost, it’s important not to be tempted to ‘tailgate’ vehicles in front,” he warns. “When someone fails to keep the safe distance that’s needed, there’s a real risk of a rear-end collision. And it’s also important to refrain from overtaking in foggy conditions – drivers should be extra-attentive and prepared to brake.”