Well, it’s that time of the year again! Yes, winter has taken over from autumn happily, and shall soon start manifesting itself in the form of fog in most parts of the world. Now when this seasonal spoilsport mingles with the forever persistent miscreants, better known as pollutants; it leads to reduced visibility and increased moisture up on the windscreens. The result is a dangerous driving scenario that has been claiming lives of urban mortals commuting on roads.
In a country like India, where the citizens have a lack of discipline and a pathetic traffic sense, roads have sudden diversions and of course potholes, random dig-ups are rampant, and absolute socialism exists with humans and animals carelessly ambling across the roads; the safety of the commuters amidst smog or haze is certainly at risk. Let’s try to understand what should be done or avoided to ensure safe transit of one and all.
Take it Easy: Driving slower than you otherwise would, shall give you a better response time, thus making braking distance shorter for you. So, if someone ahead of you brakes suddenly, or has had a crash, you are not setting yourself to follow suit. It will also make things easier for you and the drivers ahead/behind, should one of you decide to change lanes.
Stick to the Rules: Lane discipline is indispensable when it comes to driving in smoggy conditions. This keeps your car centered and is good, both for you and the driver behind. One should also try to stay on the left side of the lane. Additionally, in situations of extremely poor visibility, it would be sensible to follow lane markers/paints to keep you on the road than get you off it.
Beam Low Not High: Again as common sense would have it, a high beam would reflect light off the smog and back at the driver’s eyes, thereby hampering, instead of helping, his visibility further. So, remember to keep the beam low.
Front First: Use the front fog lamps, if your car is fitted with those, to illuminate the road so that your vehicle becomes visible to others. The rear ones can wait to be used only during extremely poor visibility conditions, for that again puts the driver behind at inconvenience.
Use Hazard Lights only if Necessary: It’s absolutely incorrect to drive with the Hazard Warning lights ON, as they are meant to be used when you have pulled over on the side of the road, or you have to stop due to an emergency. If, however, the clarity becomes annoyingly less, choose to pull over the vehicle on the side of the road to find a safe parking spot. And if you can’t find one, stay put and turn the Hazard Lights ON.
Clear Screen: In case of moisture development on the windscreen, the window glasses should be rolled down and car’s heater should be used to clear the screen.
While driving through smog, turn off the music and stay alert. Follow these valuable inputs, and drive judiciously through haze, for its better to be safe than sorry.