Following on from last week’s article on Winter Driving this time of year is a good reminder about driving in fog.
On 4 November 2011 a multiple-vehicle collision occurred on the M5 motorway near Taunton, Somerset, in South West England.
The crash involved dozens of cars and articulated lorries, and a large fireball ensued.
Seven people were killed and 51 others were injured. At the coroner’s hearing the coroner concluded that the accident was caused by dense fog, although smoke from fireworks may have been a contributory factor, but fog was the prime cause of the incident. So here are just a few hints and tips from the Highway Code:
Before entering fog check your mirrors then slow down. If the word ‘Fog’ is shown on a roadside signal but the road is clear, be prepared for a bank of fog or drifting patchy fog ahead. Even if it seems to be clearing, you can suddenly find yourself in thick fog.
When driving in fog you should:
- use your lights when visibility is seriously reduced, generally when you cannot see for more than 100 metres (328 feet). You may also use front or rear fog lights but you MUST switch them off when visibility improves. If your lights are set to come on automatically, check they work in reduced vision such as fog
- keep a safe distance behind the vehicle in front. Rear lights can give a false sense of security
- be able to pull up well within the distance you can see clearly. This is particularly important on motorways and dual carriageways, as vehicles are travelling faster
- use your windscreen wipers and demisters
- beware of other drivers not using headlights – with newer cars having auto headlights, these don’t always activate in fog
- not accelerate to get away from a vehicle which is too close behind you
- check your mirrors before you slow down. Then use your brakes so that your brake lights warn drivers behind you that you are slowing down
- stop in the correct position at a junction with limited visibility and listen for traffic – opening the windows and switching off the radio is good practice to make sure you can at last hear other vehicles – if you cannot see them. When you are sure it is safe to emerge, do so positively and do not hesitate in a position that puts you directly in the path of approaching vehicles.
- You MUST NOT use front or rear fog lights unless visibility is seriously reduced as they dazzle other road users and can obscure your brake lights. You MUST switch them off when visibility improves.
Thanks to Alan Venning of CEMEX Transactional Services for raising the profile on this after walking in on his wife watching a popular TV soap last week where there was a serious incident in foggy conditions.
For those of you who didn’t get a chance to download the Winter Driving Campaign, please use the ‘We Transfer’ link: https://we.tl/awjclOY3sb which is valid until 31st October 2016.