Driving your hire car in fog can be both stressful and extremely dangerous. Conditions are at their worst in heavy fog, which can appear suddenly and drift in banks. Whilst a light mist is easy to handle when you drive sensibly, fog can be deadly. Remember, it's better to be behind schedule than risk a serious accident, especially when travelling on unfamiliar roads, where you're already at a disadvantage.
Many places are especially prone to fog, such as some of the coastal routes in California, and in San Francisco, where the Golden Gate Bridge is often cloaked in a white haze. Heavy fog may not occur that often in Florida's Tampa Bay, but when it does it can be very dangerous. Fog can also be a problem in the valleys of France, and is common in areas such as Lille and Marseille.
If fog is forecast or early signs are visible, don't drive. But if fog suddenly develops when you are on the road, the following tips can help you to drive your hire car safely:
- Your visibility will be badly affected and patchy, so drive your hire car with extreme caution.
- If you hit a bank of fog, reduce your speed dramatically to avoid hitting the car in front of you or accidentally crossing into another lane.
- Turn your lights to low beam only and use your hire car's fog lights when necessary.
- If conditions get too bad, leave the road if possible. Stop your hire car somewhere safe where no one is going to drive into you.
- If you have to park in a vulnerable position, move to a safe location well away from traffic as soon as you can. Don't get out of your hire car on the side of the traffic; you won't be seen and will be putting yourself and other drivers at risk.
- Drive your hire car at a safe distance from the vehicle in front, and remember that stopping distances will be altered when it's foggy. Anything beyond your visual range could be a potential danger, so slow down.
- Concentrate, turn off any music and open a window so that you can easily hear other traffic.
- You may hit a clear section, but this doesn't mean that the fog has lifted. Keep your distance from other vehicles, maintain your reduced speed and stay alert.
- Bear in mind that road surfaces may be affected, and could present an extra hazard.
- Make good use of your hire car's windscreen wipers, speedometer and demisters.