Feb 01, 2012 / by Alisa Hafen / No Comments

In the wake of the deadly pileup that happened just a few days ago in Gainesville, Florida, I felt compelled to review some safety measures as to the “Do’s and Don’ts”, regarding zero visibility.  Many of the survivors of this horrific crash stated that the smoke and fog was so thick, they could not see.

Earlier, the road had been closed for several hours due to heavy smoke from a nearby brush fire. After the Florida Highway Patrol had deemed it safe to reopen this stretch of highway, only fifteen minutes had passed before the accident had occurred.

Drivers have to make good judgments when driving.  Not only was visibility low because of the brush fire, but fog had also set in and was now a major factor.

Fog limits your ability to see other cars and objects on the road, so you must be very cautious when driving in it.  When an airport becomes “fogged in”, planes do not take off.  Moreover, any airborne plane must land at another airport.

Should we not take the same precautions when driving under these same conditions where there is zero or low visibility?  When driving in the fog, never speed.  Even though the speed limit may be 50 mph, that doesn’t mean you should drive at 50 mph.

In fact, speed limits are designed for driving in perfect conditions.  When the weather is a factor, you’ll need to drive at a slower speed than normal.

It is also very difficult to distinguish between a stationary object and a moving one. More specifically, you will have difficulty determining between parked cars and driving cars.  This could easily result in an accident if you are not careful.

You may misjudge distance.  People instinctively judge that blurry objects are further away than clear ones.  With fog reducing contrast and clouding your viewpoint, you are more likely to misjudge just how far away another car or object is, making car accidents far more likely.

Foggy conditions can be further exasperated by faulty logic.  If you drive at night in the fog, you might think to use your high beams.  NEVER USE YOUR HIGH BEAMS IN FOG.  Instead of increasing visibility, like you would think, using your bright lights will only serve to scatter more light back at you.

While fog makes for treacherous road conditions, there are several ways in which you can avoid a car accident.  Use your fog lights, if possible.  Drive with extreme caution.  Allow for a greater distance between you and the car in front of you.  Always travel at a slower speed than the posted speed limit as these conditions dictate lower speeds.

With most poor weather conditions, caution will help you avoid a car accident, and foggy weather is no different.  A cautious driver is a much safer driver.