You might only encounter mist or fog occasionally when driving. Both mist and fog can build up gradually or occur suddenly and unexpectedly. If you are not used to driving in such conditions, here are some important points and driving actions to consider…
The problems of driving in such conditions
Understanding what fog is, and does, is a useful starting point. Fog is the result of large numbers of tiny water droplets becoming suspended in the air itself. When light then comes into contact with these droplets, it is diffused or scattered. This makes it more difficult for your eyes to differentiate clearly between dark and light colours.
This loss of vital contrast can then make it increasingly difficult for your brain and eyes to effectively judge both speed and distance. This can even mean that it’s hard to differentiate between moving and motionless objects.
All of this can result in your eyes keeping their focus on what is termed ‘best distance’ and this is often very close to you, perhaps only a few metres ahead. This is called The Mandelbaum Effect, named after the expert who first detected it. Dirty windscreens can make this effect even more hazardous.
Actions to take when driving in such conditions
This is not rocket science: the first tip from experts is to drive more slowly than you normally would. This gives you more time to react when your vision is not as sharp as normal. Secondly, remember that there is still a ‘behind you’! It’s easy to have complete focus on the road ahead, but you also need to know if there are any vehicles behind you and how those drivers are behaving.
Be careful about using full-beam headlights. It might seem using them would help. In reality, the light is simply reflected back from the water droplets and this often decreases visibility. Regular headlights, though, do help other drivers to spot you.
Accidents still happen
In all conditions, and driving carefully, you can still suffer a not your fault accident. If you are a victim, Australian Law entitles you to an accident replacement car whilst yours is in the repair shop.
Keep our number with you – 1800699034. As soon as it’s safe to do so, please contact our Not My Fault team for professional help and guidance in this unfortunate situation