Driving in the Fog

Foggy HighwayI drove the Inland Island Highway from Campbell River southbound and I encountered heavy fog until approximately Parkville. Driving within my visible stopping distance meant going about 80 km/hr, less at times, with maybe 200 m of visibility. I was really surprised at the speed of drivers going past me, some I estimated at 130 km/hr plus. Many were pickups and SUVs.

I received this comment by e-mail. The author is commenting on something we see every day on our highways in many different kinds of weather. Fog requires reduced speed, and you need to keep an eye on your speedometer to overcome a tendency to speed back up again as you become acclimatized to the fog. The four second following rule is a good guide in this situation. If you pass roadside features less than four seconds after they enter your view, you are probably driving too fast for the conditions and need to slow further.

Make sure that you can be seen by turning your lights on. Use low beam headlights and front fog lights, even in the daytime. Never rely on parking lights alone to identify yourself to other drivers under these conditions. Beware of other drivers who might not have turned their lights on.

Never under any circumstances stop on the travelled portion of the highway. If you must stop, move as far off of the roadway as you are able to. Turn off all lights except for your hazard flashers so that other drivers don't think you are still driving on the road.

Reference Links:

It is quite apparent that SUVs and Pickup drivers are aggressive and unlaw abiding drivers. It seems that almost every pickup or SUV driver fits this stereotype.  More focus and enforcement should be done to address this common issue.

Any how, I had hoped you would make mention of fog lights. What kind one should use and whether or not colored (amber) fog lights are helpful or not in fog. I know many people who say they'd rather keep their fog or auxillary lights turned off in the fog because it only interferes with their vision and drivability.

In reply to by DriveSmartBC

Unfortunately, the article you referenced in your link did not mention whether there is in fact any benefit to using fog lamps, whether they are clear or amber.

Would it be possible if we can address this issue?

You ask the question, I get to do the research! (I also wouldn't complain if you did the research and posted the information here to prove a point...)

Dan Stern Lighting seems to be a treasure trove of information, including an article on fog lights. Dan has produced documents for the Superintendent of Motor Vehicles to educate inspectors in Designated Inspection Facilities on how to identify and determine the legality of automotive lighting systems so he definitely has credibility on the subject!

In reply to by DriveSmartBC

Ok, thanks for the link to Dan's blog.

Here is the info I was looking for:

Many of today's vehicles have front fog lamps. What good are they? The quick and correct 2-word answer: Not much! Even good fog lamps, which are relatively rare, are of very limited use to most drivers. 

In Europe and certainly in England high intensity rear fog lights are a legal requirements.  I once was driving here in the fog and saw a vehicle ( obviously an import ) with a 'fog light '. He was visible way further back than any other vehicles with just rear lights on.

Why do not more vehicles here offer the option of 'Fog Lights '?

It's ironic that this should be posted today - take a look at the mess that just happened in Kent England, on the Sheppey Crossing bridge.

130 vehicles piled up, dozens injured - and no doubt someone will trot out the phrase soon that it's 'a miracle nobody was killed', when actually that's just because vehicles are more crash proof these days, and people use seatbelts.

One previous poster pointed out that they have more stringent requirements for front and rear fog lights in Europe (as they also do for things like side marker turn signals) but it's still up to the driver to turn them on, or they're useless.

Another poster commented about SUVs, which is irrelevant.  And to suggest that drivers of pickup trucks and similar vehicles are necessarily aggresive is akin to suggesting that if you purchase a BMW you will suddenly become incapable of using your turn signals.  Mind you, if you drive a BMW then you might want to think about this next time you are about to change lanes ...

It's all about driving at a speed that's within your ability to STOP.  Whether it be in the daytime, or at night, or in a tunnel, rounding a curve, or cresting a hill - the posted limit is not the point, or the answer; if you exceed the limit of your vision due to your velocity, then you're no longer in control.

Looking at the mess in Kent, I would observe from extensive experience driving over there that although UK drivers are generally well behaved and many are almost obsessive about lane discipline, they almost all follow too closely.  I've been in 90mph (that's fast) trains of cars on the M1 out in the fast lane, and still they're ridiculously close together, no idea of expanding following distance to match the speed at which you're moving.

So when it gets suddenly foggy - which, by the way, is often on bridges, so you're suddenly surrounded by air in a humid atmosphere, particularly dangerous when temperatures are hovering at the freezing point - then the smartest thing that you can do is increase your following distance.  

Or maybe pull over, find a side road, whatever you need to do to get away from the mayhem before it starts.

Hi- I would like to give my opinion on when fog lights should be used and that is "only" when it is foggy; The fog lights on too many vehicals are far too bright -especially pickups with big tires- making it very hard for the oncoming traffic to see the road. The RCMP should set up a program to give 1 warning and after that a sizeable fine for the "use of fog lights when it is not foggy"  It should  be easy to catch them-just sit by the road anywhere- I have used fog lights myself and find that I tend to look at the road just ahead of the hood instead of looking far ahead as we should doing-also I shut off the fog lights when I meet other cars- unless it is foggy and then it is helpful to both drivers.