In India, fog is known to be the most difficult weather condition to drive in. Visibility is down to a few metres in the peak months of December January and mid February.
Moreover, taking side turn is the trickiest aspect of driving, making it practically a blind spot. The whole of North India faces poor visibility due to fog during mornings and evenings, in an already short day.
Few practical aspects you must keep in mind while driving in winter, especially foggy conditions-
1. Drive with fog lamps and low beam headlights – Before driving, ensure that you have proper working fog lamps. The best part about fog lamps is that the light is thrown straight on the road due to the low position of the lamps, reducing the chances of reflection. Further, always use low beam headlights as high beams will reflect back on you.
2. Cars with Reflective tapes and torch lights – Reflective tapes are stuck on the front and back of the car and are visible from atleast 50 metres even in dense fog. This helps vehicles apply brakes on time, whether they are coming from rear or front. Keeping a long beam torch or multipurpose torch in the car can help in managing emergency situations.
3. Clear your windshield and windows of existing fog – Ensure that you clean them of all the fog before starting your drive as foggy windshield is very risky to drive with.
4. Check the weather reports – Check for the weather predictions, in case you are planning to drive long distance. Also inform a friend or relative about the direction you are heading. Further, always be cautious on bridges and overpasses as they are commonly the first areas to become icy.
5. Never change lane – Foggy weather conditions are like playing blind. You never know what will happen in the next second. Hence never ever change lanes while driving, unless necessary and blow horns repeatedly while doing so.
6. Keep safe distance from the front car – Maintain good distance from the car driving ahead of your car. In case you have to take a turn, do keep indicator lights on, as this can be life saving for you as well.
7. Do not stop car mid way while driving – Fog enveloped road is not a good place to stop your car mid way. This can lead to chain reaction of accidents involving the rear cars. In case you have lost way, find a suitable point where you can park your car aside with parking lights on.
8. Maintaining speed and using cruise control – Speed limits of normal weather don’t apply in winter, especially in fog filled weather. Over speeding or jumping red lights is also not a prudent decision. And in case you are driving on icy roads, never move your car to cruise control as you would want a better control on the car.
9. Snow blocking the exhaust pipe – There is a danger of carbon monoxide poisoning if snow blocks the exhaust pipe and can lead to deadly gas build up in your car. Open your window slightly to help prevent the build-up.
10. Applying brakes on slippery surfaces – Know how to apply brake on slippery surfaces. Vehicles with anti-lock brakes operate much differently from those that do not have anti-lock brakes.
11. Avoiding mobiles while driving – Many drivers have the habit of checking mobiles on a slow moving traffic. Avoid the temptation to check your mobile as all your attention should be on arriving safely.
12. Drunk driving – There is a tendency to drink and drive during winter which can increases the chances of a fatal accident, especially on fog filled days.
13. Carry Sufficient fuel – Maintain enough fuel in the tank to keep the car cabin warm, in case you are stuck outside in the cold weather.
14. Highway and expressway driving – Keep all your vehicle indicators on while driving on the highways and express lanes.
Do remember – We might take optimum precaution while driving but in the eventuality of a fatal accident, car insurance won’t be a sufficient cover for your health and life.
Ensure that you have a good personal accident and health cover in place to take care of your medical needs. Also have an adequate life cover in place which can financially support your loved ones, when you are no more.