As the weather starts to warm, Britain’s drivers need to prepare themselves for the prospect of driving through fog. Unfortunately, as we only tend to have a noticeable amount of fog across the UK for a couple of days each year, drivers often forget how to drive through it safely. However, if not taken seriously, fog can be even more dangerous than driving in wet or icy conditions, which is why police around the country are reminding drivers how to stay safe.
One of the most important things to remember when driving through fog is that visibility is extremely poor, which is why it’s so important for drivers to make sure all their lights are in good working condition. It is common for drivers not to notice that one of their lights is broken, especially their rear lights, which is why it’s so important to take the time to check them on a regular basis.
It is also important to remember that driving with defective lights is not only dangerous but can also void your car insurance as it is an offence, which is why police recently set up checkpoints in Northampton and Rushden in order to catch drivers. Discussing the campaign, road policing sergeant Tony Payne said: “It was a very successful operation with 13 verbal warnings issued to motorists for driving with defective lights and three further drivers given notices to get their lights fixed and checked at an MOT testing station within 14 days.
“I was pleased to see how readily so many of the people we pulled over and warned about defective lights took the message onboard. I think we made it very clear that driving with defective lights is not only dangerous, it is also socially unacceptable on Northamptonshire’s roads. During the operation, we were also alert to check if the drivers we pulled over had committed any further offences. That led to our officers issuing three warnings for cannabis possession and taking action on one tyre offence and one further driving licence offence.”
Even if all your lights are working, it is still important to remember that when driving through fog others may still struggle to see you, especially if the fog is particularly dense. This is why drivers are advised to keep their speed low, giving them a better chance of seeing others on the road. Unfortunately, not everyone listens to this advice, which led to the Thames Valley police criticising motorists for driving seventy miles per hour through thick fog on the M4. One traffic officer said: “It’s absolutely crazy – in places you can hardly see your hand in front of your face.”
The Met Office has warned that the fog may continue throughout this week, with a spokesman adding: “It’s not unusual at this time of year to have what we call ‘radiation fog’, when warmer days and clear, windless nights bring out the moisture in the early morning. We’ll probably experience it again tomorrow.” The south-west and the south-east of the UK have been the worst affected by the fog, as in some areas visibility has been down to less than one hundred metres.
In order to stay safe it is advisable for all drivers to drive as slowly and as cautiously as possible, and if in doubt pull over to somewhere safe until the worst of the fog passes. If you are approaching a junction and you are struggling to see whether there is traffic approaching, wind down your window and try and listen for any oncoming traffic. Make sure you always take as much time as you need – whatever you do don’t feel pressured by people queuing behind you or try and accelerate through the junction too quickly.
Even though drivers will need to be extra careful while on the road this week, it is expected that any fog we will see will only last a few hours in the early morning, as high temperatures throughout the day will burn the fog away. Hopefully this means that the UK will soon see some warmer, brighter weather, and that driving conditions across the country will improve over the next few months.