Top Tips for Driving Safely in Fog

Ellie Dyer-Brown, 3 months ago

5 min read

  • How to
  • Car ownership
A car driving in fog in autumn

WhoCanFixMyCar offers some advice on how to drive safely when bad weather hits.

There are many things to love about the UK, but our weather isn’t one of them. Our winters are bleak, and during those glorious few months of summer sunshine, we tend to complain that it’s too hot. We especially like to melt down (pardon the pun) when it snows. But there’s another type of weather that is just as challenging when you hit the road: fog.

Understanding how to drive safely in fog is vital - this guide covers everything you need to know.

Contents:

How to drive safely in fog

Before you set off

Driving in fog

What not to do

What if I break down in fog?


How to drive safely in fog

The main things to remember are to take it slow, use your lights and leave more space between you and the car in front.


Before you set off

For any journey where you know you’re likely to hit bad weather, it pays to plan in advance. There are a few things you can do to make sure that you’re well prepared.

Check your brakes

Pushing the brake pedal.

When it’s foggy, not only is your visibility reduced, but the road is also often wet, meaning it can take longer to stop. Couple that with the risk of unforeseen hazards and it becomes clear that your brakes are more important than ever. 

If yours don’t work as well as they used to and are showing signs of wear, it’s a good idea to avoid driving in foggy conditions until you’ve had them repaired or serviced.

Here are five brake problems you shouldn't ignore.

Pack emergency supplies

An emergency car kit.

In the event that you have to stop mid-way through your journey due to bad weather, having some supplies stored away in the boot will come in handy, such as:

  • A torch

  • Water

  • Blanket/spare clothes

Our ultimate winter driving guide offers more advice on what to include in a winter car kit.

Plan your route

Using sat-nav to plan car route.

Spend five minutes planning out your route before you set off. This will allow you to work out whether the bad weather is avoidable, and it’ll also mean you can drive with more confidence. Don’t forget to factor in extra driving time since you’ll have to go slower than usual.


When you set off

Keep your distance

It's important to keep well back when you're driving in fog because you can't see very far ahead. Slow down and make sure the gap between you and the car in front is big enough; whereas normally it should be two seconds, in fog it should be four. 

This guide provides more information about stopping distances.

Watch your speed

Car speedo

Because visibility is severely reduced in foggy conditions, maintain a speed that will allow you to stop within the area that you can see. You never know what’s around the corner, so it’s best to drive steadily until you’re out of the other side. 

Use the right lights

The Highway Code states that you must use headlights when you can’t see 100 metres in front of you. However, the use of fog lights is optional. It's important to switch them off when visibility improves to avoid dazzling other drivers, otherwise you could be fined.

This guide discusses how to ensure you're driving legally in winter.

Driving in the Fog 2

Roll down your windows

When you reach a junction, rolling down your windows can help you to hear approaching traffic even if you can’t see it. 

Follow road markings

When we drive, we usually keep our eyes on the road ahead. But what if we can’t see the road ahead? A good bit of advice is to focus on the road markings that are a little bit closer to your car and are illuminated by your headlights. This will help you stay within your lane and follow any curves despite reduced visibility.

Keep your windscreen clear

fixed car windscreen thumpnail

Use your windscreen wipers and demister to make sure that you have the best possible visibility. Check out our ultimate guide to car windscreens for more information.

Wait until it’s safe

Driving in fog might not be discussed as much as driving in snow or ice, but it can be dangerous and should be treated with equal caution. Don’t feel pressured to drive because it’s “just fog”. If you’re really struggling to see and you don’t feel comfortable, the safest thing to do is to wait until the fog passes. 

Plus, never stop in a place where you could cause an obstruction for another driver - when you pull over, make sure you do so in a place where it’s safe to stop.


What not to do

When driving in fog, you shouldn’t:

  • Rely on the tail lights of the car in front for direction.

  • Rely on daytime running lights alone.

  • Rely on automatic lights.

The best way to find out if your car is safe to drive in challenging conditions is to book a winter health check.

Read this guide for more information about the benefits of a winter health check.


What if I break down in fog?

Warning triangle telling drivers about a breakdown in the fog.

The procedure is the same whether you break down in fog or on a sunny day. Call your breakdown provider and follow the advice in this guide, which explains what to do when you break down.


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Written by Ellie

Ellie Author Pic

Ellie is WhoCanFixMyCar’s Content Writer. She has a BA in English literature from Durham University, a master’s degree in creative writing, and three years of experience writing in the automotive industry. She currently drives a Suzuki Swift.

Find Ellie on LinkedIn.