At night and in weather conditions such as rain, snow or fog, you cannot see as far ahead, even with headlights. Slow down when driving at night, especially on unlit roads and whenever weather conditions reduce your visibility.
Overdriving your headlights
You are overdriving your headlights when you go so fast that your stopping distance is farther than you can see with your headlights. This is a dangerous thing to do, because you may not give yourself enough room to make a safe stop. Reflective road signs can mislead you as well, making you believe you can see farther than you really can. This may cause you to over-drive your headlights if you are not careful (Diagram 2-58).
Glare is dazzling light that makes it hard for you to see and be aware what others around you are doing. It can be a problem on both sunny and overcast days, depending on the angle of the sun’s rays and your surroundings. Glare can also be a problem at night when you face bright headlights or see them reflected in your rear view mirror.
When meeting oncoming vehicles with bright headlights at night, look up and beyond and slightly to the right of the oncoming lights. In daytime glare, use your sun visor or keep a pair of good quality sunglasses in your vehicle. When you enter a tunnel on a bright day, slow down to let your eyes adjust to the reduced light. Remove your sunglasses and turn on your headlights.
Cut down glare at night by following the rules of the road for vehicle lights. Use your low-beam headlights within 150 metres of an oncoming vehicle or when following a vehicle within 60 metres. On country roads, switch to low beams when you come to a curve or hilltop so you can see oncoming headlights and won’t blind oncoming drivers. If you can’t see any headlights, switch back to high beams.
Fog is a thin layer of cloud resting on the ground. Fog can reduce visibility for drivers, resulting in difficult driving conditions.
The best thing to do is to avoid driving in fog. Check weather forecasts and if there is a fog warning, delay your trip until it clears. If that is not possible or you get caught driving in fog, there are a number of safe driving tips you should follow. If visibility is decreasing rapidly, move off the road and into a safe parking area to wait for the fog to lift.
Tips for driving safely in fog
Before you drive – and during your trip – check weather forecasts. If there is a fog warning, delay your trip until it clears. If you are caught driving in fog, follow these safe-driving tips:
- Slow down gradually and drive at a speed that suits the conditions.
- Make sure the full lighting system of your vehicle is turned on.
- Use your low-beam headlights. High beams reflect off the moisture droplets in the fog, making it harder to see.
- If you have fog lights on your vehicle, use them, in addition to your low beams.
- Be patient. Avoid passing, changing lanes and crossing traffic.
- Use pavement markings to help guide you. Use the right edge of the road as a guide, rather than the centre line.
- Increase your following distance. You will need extra distance to brake safely.
- Look and listen for any hazards that may be ahead.
- Reduce the distractions in your vehicle. For example, turn off the cell phone. Your full attention is required.
- Watch for any electronically operated warning signs.
- Keep looking as far ahead as possible.
- Keep your windows and mirrors clean. Use your defroster and wipers to maximize your vision.
- If the fog is too dense to continue, pull completely off the road and try to position your vehicle in a safe parking area. Turn on your emergency flashers, in addition to keeping on your low-beam headlights