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Traffic Tip: How to drive safely in foggy conditions

By By David Brogger
Dec. 2, 2012 at 6:02 a.m.
Updated Dec. 3, 2012 at 6:03 a.m.


This week's traffic tip is in regards to driving safely in foggy conditions.

Slow down.

Sometimes fog can create an optical illusion that you are going slower than you actually are. This prompts you to speed up.

While driving in foggy conditions, people have a tendency to concentrate more on where they are going than on checking their speed with the speedometer. Make a conscious effort to check your speedometer every once in a while.

Make sure you are seen

Always keep your headlights on when driving in foggy conditions.

Your daytime running lights aren't enough. Turn your actual lights on. Your headlights aren't so you can see better, it's so others can see you. If your car is equipped with fog lights, use those too. When driving in fog, it's very important to stay visible to others. You should never use your high beam headlights in foggy conditions. The high beams reflect off of the fog which actually decreases your visibility.

Follow the lines

This fog driving tip should never be followed during good weather conditions or during clear night driving.

But when driving in fog, it's a good idea to follow the lines on the road with your eyes. This is the best way to ensure you stay in your lane. Drivers are typically attracted to lights and subconsciously will steer toward lights. So it's better to watch the lines to be certain you are driving within your lane. Just make sure you aren't fixating.

Keep a safe distance

Remember to maintain a safe following distance. Most drivers tend to bunch up during fog because they feel it's better to see the car in front rather than increasing their following distance. Driving in fog is scary, but now is not the time to follow too close. Generally, the "three second rule" is a good rule to apply; however, when driving in foggy conditions, it's best to increase that substantially.

Stop if necessary

Pull over and wait for the fog to lift if necessary. Try to pull over in a driveway, a parking lot, a side street, etc. If none of these options are available, pull onto the side of the roadway as far to the right as possible. Stay buckled up and turn your lights off. If you leave your lights on, people might think you are driving on the roadway and rear-end you. Make sure your foot is off the brake pedal, and do not use your flashers.

Dense fog usually doesn't last a long time. The fog may not completely go away, but stopping for a while should buy you some time and allow the fog to lift a bit. Dense fog tends to migrate from area to area, unless you're in a valley, where fog tends to settle. If the fog just gets worse while you're parked, stay put. It's not worth your life to continue. But always remember, when driving in fog, stopping on the shoulder of the road should be a last resort.

The above safe driving tips were taken from Drive-Safely.com.

The Victoria Police Department Traffic Safety Unit invites citizens to inform us of any traffic issues that you observe. The easiest way to do this is go to our website, victoriapd.com, then go to the VPD Customer Service Request tab in the center of the page and follow the directions.

If you have a traffic law question, contact Senior Police Officer David Brogger, Victoria Police Department Traffic Safety Unit, 361-485-3700.

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