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Old 25th January 2013, 14:52   #16
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Default Re: ARTICLE: Guidelines & Tips for Safe Driving in FOG

Superb article Sir! One of the most informative that I have ever read. Let me add my two cents to it:

1. I try and stick to the middle lane of an highway while driving at night. The left lane has stationary vehicles and worse still, sugarcane carriers with no lights on! The right lane is only good if you know the highway like the back of your hand. It is easy to hit a divider at an interchange.

2. This has been covered before, but is probably the most important point of all: do NOT switch headlamps to high beam. The glare increases with the density of the fog.

3. For any sweeper vehicle, please maintain a safe distance from it. If the lead hits something, you do not want to hit that vehicle as well!

4. If possible, drive with your windows down. Fog indicates that the relative humidity of air is high, which increases misting of the windshield.

5. Fog is particularly dense between 12 midnight to 3 am. As traffic volume decreases, fog buildup increases. Avoid driving during this timeframe if possible.

Above all, understand your limits. If you don't feel confident driving, stop and wait. The world will not end if you have a delay of 3 or 4 hours.

Last edited by lordavenger : 25th January 2013 at 14:54. Reason: Additional point
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Old 25th January 2013, 14:59   #17
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Default Re: ARTICLE: Guidelines & Tips for Safe Driving in FOG

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Originally Posted by ghodlur View Post
How would one rely completely on the Inner rear view mirrors when the outer RVM's are misted due to the fog...
Rain-X or Lenshine work very well to keep your ORVMs mist-free. If you visit an optician, he would also stock lens cleaning fluid in 50/100-ml bottles. These are also alcohol-based like the products I had mentioned, so are able to act as anti-fogging agents, and repel mist from the ORVMs. Of course, some vehicles do have heated ORVMs, and this is the precise situation for which heated ORVMs were invented! Safari owners swear by them!
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Originally Posted by ghodlur View Post
is it considered safe to drive with the window's rolled down?
Choosing between the lesser of the two evils, I prefer my window to be a quarter of the way down to let me check vis-a-vis my windscreen transparency. The cold air helps to stay alert also, and I listen to my engine and road noise pretty carefully too. As opposed to that, the perceived compromise in safety from muggers, dacoits and other kinds of low-life that inhabit highways is (in my opinion) not something I worry about - in the cold and fog, these people also prefer to remain safely home rather than risk being run over by a truck on a highway.
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Originally Posted by ghodlur View Post
How's the road grip in places where heavy fog is witnessed, what should one be careful of?
The road can be wet at times, but then, no one is expected to drive at anything above moderate speeds in fog - hence, the risk of skids would be minimal if one is driving as per the above tips, and does not merit a mention at all when talking about driving in fog.
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Originally Posted by ghodlur View Post
since the road signs/direction boards are pretty much invisible during the fog, how does one tackle this?
This is a common problem, and therefore I specifically mentioned:
Quote:
• Keep your GPS device turned on ONLY IF you are sure that the area is well-mapped as per your device. Keeping the GPS running helps to predict upcoming curves and turns that you might miss in the fog, both in the city and on highways. On the other hand, a bad map can guide you onto non-existent roads & bridges, or roads that have been recently realigned, and the consequences can be disastrous in fog.

Last edited by SS-Traveller : 25th January 2013 at 15:01.
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Old 25th January 2013, 16:01   #18
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Default Re: ARTICLE: Guidelines & Tips for Safe Driving in FOG

Excellent article. As GTO said, a bible for any driver with frequent travels in fog.
To me it was a revelation that yellow lights don't help during fog. I always thought that they do!
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Old 25th January 2013, 16:57   #19
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Default Re: ARTICLE: Guidelines & Tips for Safe Driving in FOG

Brilliant write-up! Thanks.

Though foggy conditions typically stay for a very limited time at any place, the article should be a must-read for everyone as it could help if one encounters fog unexpectedly.

Slightly OT, but wanted to mention here, automobile manufacturers are stressing on safety/security features and some cars have ABS/airbags on almost all versions (including base version) e.g Honda City. Its weird to note that fog lamps are considered 'accessory' and not considered 'essential' yet!!

Hilly areas (or any area, in fact) which are prone to fog during a particular period should have fog lamps compulsory IMO. Maybe the RTO can issue some directive to car dealers in the region to equip all cars with fog lamps before registration, even if this increases the cost slightly.
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Old 25th January 2013, 19:05   #20
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Smile Re: ARTICLE: Guidelines & Tips for Safe Driving in FOG

Quote:
Originally Posted by SS-Traveller View Post
[center]Attachment 1040639

Any vehicle travelling reasonably confidently on a fog-bound highway at night is most likely to be a local driver who knows this stretch of the highway like the back of his hand. Use him as a "sweeper" vehicle if you must, but if you keep following him without looking around, you'll reach his home and he won't serve you dinner just because you showed up! Or even worse, when he makes a mistake and hits something ahead, you have a chance of taking up residence inside his boot.

In such conditions, it is wiser to maintain a safe distance behind such a "sweeper" truck and follow him at constant (but slower) speed, rather than overtaking him in the clear areas, only to have him catch up with you in the next fog-bound area.[/indent]
I would like to add this video link here to reiterate what SS Sir mentioned. 80kmph is not the speed to drive at in fog.

Please turn up the audio to hear the conversations taking place inside the car.



P.S. Not me. Not my car. Found this on youtube a couple of years ago.

Drive Safe fellas!
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Old 25th January 2013, 19:44   #21
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Default Re: ARTICLE: Guidelines & Tips for Safe Driving in FOG

Dear SS Traveller,

Excellent write up, along with very useful references for extra reading.

For me, it came at the right moment, as we are planning to do a trip to Mahabaleshwar these days.

thanks and regards,
bbhavan.
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Old 25th January 2013, 20:49   #22
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Default Re: ARTICLE: Guidelines & Tips for Safe Driving in FOG

Doc, Thank you so much for an absolutely fantastic article!
Did not know more than 75% of what you have shared although I have driven in the fog once in a while.

During the monsoon, I was at Igatpuri and the morning fog was just too dense for comfort. Took almost 2 minutes to take a careful right turn and parked in the parking lot of a hotel which was beyond the service lane. With limited or zero experience, waiting it out is the safest option.

Thanks again for sharing the insights!

Rehaan, thanks for the snaps which illustrate the points really well.

Last edited by SDP : 25th January 2013 at 20:57.
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Old 25th January 2013, 23:22   #23
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Default Re: ARTICLE: Guidelines & Tips for Safe Driving in FOG

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Originally Posted by aplang1 View Post
I would like to add this video link here to reiterate what SS Sir mentioned. 80kmph is not the speed to drive at in fog.
Thanks for the YouTube link, which irrefutably proves the point I made earlier...
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Originally Posted by SS-Traveller View Post
A truck with its lights on is a better bet to follow, than an LMV whose driver thinks he is the next best thing that can happen to F-1.
Also, this is how the "moth effect" happens! Watch the lead car with its hazard lights on, and how it almost draws the driver behind to come and hit it - the driver never noticed the brake lights of the car ahead go on, until it was too late.
----------------------------------------------------
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Originally Posted by GTO View Post
Your driving experience just shines through this article.
There are dozens of stories I could recount, about incidents while driving in fog. Here's one picture that brings back memories of the worst fog driving I ever encountered...



Notice the yellowish line on the right corner of this photograph. Let's see who can guess what it is!

This was in the first week of January 2009 (the night of 3-4 January 2009 to be precise), and we were driving back from Puri to Delhi. Having rung in the new year at Puri, we left on 2 January, and stopped for the night at Benaras. We spent the next (3 January) morning and afternoon sight-seeing and shopping. It was late afternoon by the time we decided to wind up and hit the road. The weather was clear, and even the previous night we have had no fog in Benaras. So far so good.

We were on the highway by 7 pm, and cruising along merrily, hoping to make it to Delhi by the next morning. 40 km out of Benaras, we started encountering stray pockets of fog - not something I usually get flustered about. In another 10 km, at around 8 pm, we hit a solid wall of fog. Again, nothing unusual about it - we expected clear weather, maybe another 10 km further on.

In five minutes, the fog had intensified to the extent that visibility range was less than 10 metres. Still not worried, we kept driving on at 20km/h or so. What started a twinge of doubt at one point, was that after almost half an hour of driving, we had encountered zero traffic either way. No "sweeper" trucks to follow, no oncoming trucks either. And this was not even 11pm - truck drivers don't pull off the road and go to sleep this early...

"Pea soup fog" was a term I had only heard of before. This was the time I was in it - for hours together. Those days, there was no Allahabad bypass, and one had to drive on an undivided highway for about 35 km to reach Allahabad city, cross the city from one end to the other, and then there was another 35 km stretch of undivided highway before one came back to the divided NH2.

Unfortunately, this undivided section also had no lane markings, painted borders or any other type of marker that we could follow. It took us about 4 hours to cross this stretch. I don't recall how many times I had to get out of the car and check the road ahead to find out if we were going off it, or to check the directions on unreadable signboards (we didn't carry a GPS device then). But the first time it happened was when the central divider stopped existing (we had been following this all the while), and we had to take a gentle left turn to get to the undivided highway section approaching Allahabad. Thankfully, I knew about the turn, and we crawled onto the undivided highway at one go.

We made it to Kanpur by morning and the following photograph was taken at 7:37 AM on 4 January 2009 (as per EXIF data), soon after we got off the Kanpur flyover.



It had taken us over 12 hours to drive about 300 km - but the most important thing was that we were safe and unharmed.

All right - now what was that yellow line on the right side of the first photo on this post?

Last edited by SS-Traveller : 25th January 2013 at 23:44.
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Old 25th January 2013, 23:31   #24
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Default Re: ARTICLE: Guidelines & Tips for Safe Driving in FOG

Superb Article and great piece of information for all the drivers. A must read for those who encounter foggy weather driving.

I wanted to add a couple of notes to the article as unfortunately I have had experience of driving in all kinds of fog:

1. As already mentioned, Switch on AC. Use fresh-air mode (preferably) at comfortable temperature. This helps in de-humidifying the cabin and hence prevents fogging of windscreen from inside.

2. Strictly stick to your lane, especially when you are on hills. DO NOT overtake at turns no matter how slow is the vehicle ahead is. On the relatively straight stretch overtake only if you are certain that there is no one coming from opposite direction. Use horn to warn others.

3. NEVER Over speed. No matter how confident you are and no matter how rule abiding driver you may be, you may not avoid a disaster while over speeding in fog.
4. Driving in foggy conditions require full concentration. Do not attempt to drive in fog if you are sleepy or is the co passenger is arguing/discussing with you. A millisecond of distraction may cause a serious accident.
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Old 26th January 2013, 11:23   #25
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Default Re: ARTICLE: Guidelines & Tips for Safe Driving in FOG

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Originally Posted by SS-Traveller View Post
All right - now what was that yellow line on the right side of the first photo on this post?
The picture is taken from the driver's seat, so you were obviously stationary. The Indica right ahead as well as the opposite car (Omni?) are standing.

You guys appear to be at a railway crossing & the yellow line is the barricade.

But the barricade does seem too short (doesn't even block the Indica) and the Omni seems to be parked too close to the Indica for a train to pass through in between. It could be that the opposite side's barricade had opened up before the one on your side did.
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Old 26th January 2013, 13:12   #26
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Default Re: ARTICLE: Guidelines & Tips for Safe Driving in FOG

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Originally Posted by SS-Traveller View Post


Notice the yellowish line on the right corner of this photograph. Let's see who can guess what it is!

All right - now what was that yellow line on the right side of the first photo on this post?
Is it some iron rod or something protruding from a container/truck standing on right side of the road or hanging behind some container crossing at a crossroard as a warning to ones around in the night? Some container/trucks carrying iron rods longer than their bed etc hang such things as indicators.

You seem to be literally in the middle of the road, trying to overtake the Indica ahead probably but come to see this barricade and stopped in tracks seeing the dangerous situation ahead?

AND YES, A fantabulous article on top of all the driving articles pouring in.

Last edited by parsh : 26th January 2013 at 13:13.
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Old 26th January 2013, 16:37   #27
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Default Re: ARTICLE: Guidelines & Tips for Safe Driving in FOG

Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
The picture is taken from the driver's seat, so you were obviously stationary. The Indica right ahead as well as the opposite car (Omni?) are standing.

You guys appear to be at a railway crossing...
That's right. The car on the right of the Indica, though, was a Wagon-R with both it's hazard lights and fog lamp on (note the low level fog lamp visible between the two blobs of yellow hazard lights).

Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
...& the yellow line is the barricade.
But the barricade does seem too short (doesn't even block the Indica
Quote:
Originally Posted by parsh View Post
Is it some iron rod or something protruding from a container/truck...
The yellow line is the track made by the single headlight of a passing train. The EXIF data says this pic was taken at ISO-200, F/8, 30 seconds, at 10:15 PM on 3 January 2009. In those 30 seconds, that's as far as the train had travelled. The level crossing barrier is down, but was absolutely not visible until one came right up to it - there was no light to signal its presence at all, except a set of reflectors in the centre of the beam.

Stoppage time at the level crossing was about half an hour. We did not manage to see the rest of the train as it passed through (took about 15 minutes to cross completely), given the density of the fog.
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Old 26th January 2013, 18:53   #28
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Default Re: ARTICLE: Guidelines & Tips for Safe Driving in FOG

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Originally Posted by ajmat View Post
A very useful well written article.
Thank you.
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Originally Posted by ajmat View Post
A couple of points
RainX, I would avoid on windscreen since it causes the wipers to smear in my experience
I think there may be a bit of confusion as to which Rain-X product to use where. I normally use Rain-X anti-fog on the insides of the windscreens, and wipe off with a paper tissue after the smeared layer dries off somewhat. One application lasts through the winter. OTOH, the Rain-X glass cleaners are useful for cleaning the outer surfaces - but then I find Pril works excellently.
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Originally Posted by ajmat View Post
Washing up liquid in the washer bottle - Use very little or avoid since it also is slightly abrasive
Pril sold in India doesn't have soda added, so no abrasive effect. From the manufacturer's website:
Quote:
Known for its high grease-dissolving power and the quick dry formula, Pril is your best choice for your dishes. Moreover, the different liquid products are mild to the skin, non messy and leave no residue. Besides that, the liquid line contains a wide array of fragrances. In the Philippines and India a vinegar component is added, and in Korea, respectively a soda component, to increase the degreasing power even more. Next to that, an antibacterial component is added in India and Korea, which easily deals with all kinds of bacteria.
One more interesting observation I made with a friend's Innova, which suffered a cracked front windscreen. The new windscreen (Saint Gobain glass) mists up a lot more quickly on the inside than the old (OE) one did. I wonder if Toyota provides an anti-fog coating at the factory end in all OE windscreens. Can someone confirm this?

Last edited by SS-Traveller : 26th January 2013 at 19:00.
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Old 26th January 2013, 21:31   #29
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Default Re: ARTICLE: Guidelines & Tips for Safe Driving in FOG

Nice article SS-Traveller.

Quote:
Please do not use fog lamps in clear weather conditions
I can understand if the above is for the rear fog-lamps. What harm is caused by the front fog lamps? They help me by lighting the potholes, which are missed with only the headlamps in operation. Also, they are placed so low that they never can hurt the oncoming traffic.
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Old 26th January 2013, 22:15   #30
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Default Re: ARTICLE: Guidelines & Tips for Safe Driving in FOG

Thanks for the awesome Safe Driving Article SS Da It is as comprehensive as it can be.

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Originally Posted by SS-Traveller View Post
Fog lamps: If your car is equipped with front and rear fog lamps, make sure these work. In case fog lamps are not supplied as OE with the car, it would be a good idea to install them ASAP if you live in fog-prone zones like North India.
My Car had the option of fitting OE fog lamps later on & once fitted, it makes world of difference. To help yourself understand better, switch the fogs only (with parking of-course) and see how they illuminate the sides?

Its just so very useful when there are no lane markings. It helps light up the sides & you can keep a tab on it as well to see where you are going. The off-road area near the tarmac usually has sand & it shines & illuminates a bit, helping you to see better.

My Car doesn't have rear fog-lamps equipped. Going to the local electrician to see what can be done.

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Originally Posted by SS-Traveller View Post
Look for lane markers or central dividers on highways, which you can follow. If the lane markers / dividers cease to be visible, stop and reassess the path you need to follow further ahead.


Quote:
In extreme fog (visibility less than 10 meters), I have had to get a co-passenger to lead me to the side of the highway on foot at one time. I had completely lost my bearings.
I dread this.

Remember, fogs intensity shall increase to a high level where there would be water bodies.
  • Try to stick with OE fog-lamps if getting them fitted as extra.
  • And please do not use 6 Hella lamps, they are plain useless. The OE lamps are bright enough to light up in case of fog or for normal usage.
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