Safety Tips When Driving in the Michigan Fog
Mother Nature creates a lot of different obstacles to safe driving in Michigan. From driving rain to icy and snowy conditions, there are a lot of weather-related incidents that can cause significant hazards on the road.
One of the most dangerous conditions is driving in the fog. Fog can reduce a driver’s depth perception, can make it challenging to distinguish between dark and light objects and areas, and can cause your vision to fixate on what’s close by.
While most people may focus on wet and cold weather as the most dangerous driving conditions, drivers need to be aware of foggy conditions, too.
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration reports that more than 38,700 crashes happen every year in foggy conditions. Those crashes lead to an average of more than 16,300 people being injured and more than 600 people being killed every year.
There’s no doubt that driving in the Michigan fog can be dangerous. Here are some safety tips to follow when you must be on the road in these conditions.
The first thing you should do when you’re driving in foggy conditions is drive slow. Don’t necessarily worry about the speed limit; drive the speed that you feel comfortable driving based on your visibility.
If you’re driving on the highway and aren’t going to drive the speed limit, make sure to drive in the far right-hand lane.
The faster you drive, the less reaction time you have. When you’re driving in foggy conditions, you won’t have the same visibility, making reaction time all the more important.
If you’re driving too fast, you may not be able to stop in time or avoid obstacles in the road.
Use Your Lights
Even if it’s the daytime, you should drive with your headlights on in foggy conditions. Many modern cars will have daytime running lights and automatic lights that will come on when they detect darker conditions. If your vehicle does not have these features, it’s important that you turn your lights manually on when driving in foggy conditions.
It’s important that you also use your regular lights, not your high beams. Contrary to what you might believe, your high beams will actually reflect off fog, causing the light to then bounce back in your eyes. When in foggy conditions, then, you should use your regular lights not your high beams.
Additionally, consider turning on the hazard lights. This will help other drivers see you. Drivers may not be able to see the back of your car when they’re visibility is reduced, but your hazard lights will help them identify that a vehicle is in front of them.
Improve Visibility as Much as You Can
The fog is likely to reduce your normal visibility, so it’s important to improve that visibility as much as you can. While you can’t control the fog, you can control how you see through the windshield.
Since fog is basically just water droplets, it’s important to wipe that extra moisture off your windshield. Make sure to adjust your wiper speed accordingly so that it remains free of this water.
Another thing that might help is turning the defroster on. Even if it’s warm outside, having the defroster on could help to create extra visibility for you while you’re driving.
Finally, if you’re having a hard time seeing straight ahead, make sure to drive on the far-right of the road. This will allow you to use the white lines on the road as a guide as you’re driving. Plus, if you end up drifting, you won’t do so into traffic coming your way.
Pull Over if You Must — Safely
If you’re having trouble seeing and don’t feel like it’s safe to continue driving, you should definitely pull over to the side of the road. This goes for any weather conditions, of course, but definitely when you’re dealing with heavy fog.
Make sure that when you pull off to the side of the road, you are completely on the shoulder of the road. If there isn’t sufficient space for you to pull over safely, then wait until you can either take an exit — if you’re on a highway — or can find someplace to safely park on the side of the road.
When you do pull over safely, make sure to turn on your hazard lights. Again, this will allow other motorists to see you more clearly and from a longer distance.
If you ever feel unsafe while driving due to weather conditions, it’s always best to pull over and wait out the weather — no matter how close you may be to your destination.
Work with a Trusted Insurance Company
You should always take extra precautions when you’re driving in hazardous weather conditions. In Michigan, drivers have to deal with a lot of these conditions, including snow, ice, driving rain and heavy fog.
Follow some of the safety tips above so you can remain safe when you’re driving in heavy fog in Michigan. Your safety and that of your passengers and other vehicles on the road should always be your number one priority when you’re driving.
It’s also important that you work with a trusted auto insurance company that can come to your aid if you ever need it. Signature Insurance has been providing its customers with excellent service and insurance products in Michigan for years now.
To learn more about how we can cover you, and to get a free auto insurance quote, call us today.
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