Thick fog is expected to be an issue for the morning commute in the Houston area for the next several days, according to weather forecasters. AAA Texas reminds motorists to drive defensively in poor visibility, which caused more than 2,800 crashes and 48 fatal crashes in 2018 statewide, according to the Texas Department of Transportation.
"Drivers should plan extra time to arrive at their destination and slow down on their commutes because speeding or driving at, or near, speed limits in foggy conditions can be unsafe," said AAA Texas spokesperson Joshua Zuber. “It’s a lot more difficult to see vehicles and judge their speed in reduced visibility. Fog distorts perception and creates an illusion of slower motion when drivers actually may be speeding.”
To avoid poor visibility crashes, AAA Texas recommends:
• Park in a closed garage. This reduces condensation and moisture on vehicle windows when you head out for your trip.
• Defrost first. Before turning on the defroster, allow the engine to warm up. Turn the heat control on and if the vehicle’s windshield begins to get cloudy, open the side window slightly and turn the defroster to a higher speed. If you have an air conditioner, use it briefly to help clear the windows.
• Drive with lights on low beam. High beams will reflect off the fog, creating a “white wall” effect. If your car has fog lights (amber lens or bulb), now is the time to use them with low beams (clear lens or bulb).
• Reduce speed. Fog creates visual conditions that fool the driver into driving faster or slower, so slow down to a reasonable and legal speed and use your speedometer to gauge it. Multi-vehicle collisions occur because drivers are going too fast.
• Partially open the driver’s side window. Listen for traffic you can’t see and anticipate problems.
• Keep a safe distance. In fog, increase braking distance between you and the vehicle in front of you.
• Drive cautiously. Avoid passing other vehicles and changing lanes, if possible.
• Stay informed. Check local weather reports to know where traffic congestion or crashes might be located. If possible, avoid these areas.
• If stalled, or a crash occurs, attempt to exit the freeway or pull well onto the shoulder and turn off lights so another motorist doesn’t mistakenly drive into you.
Car maintenance is important to safe driving in foggy weather. Motorists are advised to:
• Make sure windshield wiper blades are in good condition. Streaks or skipping on the vehicle's windshield are signs of worn wiper blades. Many crashes occur because motorists couldn’t see out of streaking windshields.
• Keep headlights and taillights working and lenses clean. This vehicle equipment is critical to help you see and be seen by other drivers in foggy and wet driving conditions.