Traveling in a foggy weather in Pakistan can present unique challenges and hazards, especially in a country like Pakistan, where foggy conditions are prevalent during certain seasons. Navigating through reduced visibility requires careful planning and adherence to specific precautions to ensure the safety of both drivers and passengers. In this article, we will explore essential precautions for traveling in foggy weather.
What is fog?
Fog is a major environmental issue in the winter, confronting the provinces of Punjab and Sindh in Pakistan. It incurs a considerable loss of life and affects the economy due to road accidents, traffic impasses, and the cancellation or delay of air services.
Fog is a meteorological phenomenon caused by tiny water particles and influenced by surface conditions. It is essentially a cloud close to ground level that reduces visibility.
Fog is classified as shallow if visibility is more than 500 meters, moderate if visibility is between 200 meters and 500 meters, and dense if visibility is less than 200 meters.
Types of fog
Different types include radiation fog, advection fog, evaporation fog, industrial fog, and valley fog. The type of fog depends on the scientific phenomenon that causes it. Radiational cooling of the surface reduces the air temperature to its dew point temperature. Consequently, the reduced ability of air to hold moisture causes condensation or fog. Radiation fog requires a stable environment and a clear sky for development; as the sun rises, radiation fog dissipates due to the warm ground.
Fog vs. Mist
Both mist and fog develop due to the suspension of water droplets; the difference is in the obscurity level. By definition, more than 1000 ms of visibility is mist, and less than 1000 ms of visibility is fog.
Precautionary measures before traveling in fog
The phenomenon of fog is localized and can create impromptu challenges while traveling. As a result, you should plan your trips ahead of time based on the meteorological department’s fog forecast regarding the frequency and density of fog on the highway or along your route. The Pakistan meteorological department forecasts and updates fog weather conditions or fog status on their website, https://nwfc.pmd.gov.pk/new/fog-motorways.php, which helps plan your trips. and avoid getting stuck in foggy conditions.
Foggy conditions cause traffic congestion or roadblocks, so keep consulting the traffic conditions on your route. While planning your visit, adjust your travel time to avoid extreme fog days and hours.
It is risky to cover long distances in one go during fog due to shorter days. Orient yourself to your planned route and identify rest areas where you can stay during hours of dense fog. A journey of four to six hours in one day is safe to avoid fog on motorways or roads during fog weather.
It is also important to check your vehicle’s headlights, taillights, and fog lights to ensure they are functioning properly. By taking these precautionary measures before traveling in foggy conditions, you can ensure a safe and stress-free journey.
Foggy weather in Pakistan is hazardous due to limited or no visibility. It occurs during the winter season, from December to February. Visibility during the winter remains more than 1000 ms, though during the dense fog days it reduces to 200 ms or even 50 ms, making it dangerous for driving. The visibility in lower Punjab remains much better compared to upper Punjab during fog.
Still, if you are bound to travel in these conditions, one should stay vigilant and adhere to the safety tips mentioned below.
Safe Driving Tips
- Use a high beam. The use of headlights is of paramount importance while driving in foggy weather. Perhaps headlights are the only thing visible to an oncoming vehicle. Always use dipped headlights instead of high beams because fog tends to reflect the light onto you and further reduces visibility due to high beams.
- Keep on the left edge of the road. When visibility drops considerably, keeping a sense of your surroundings becomes difficult. To avoid the risk of going astray and driving into adjacent or onrushing traffic, always use the left edge of the road as a guide.
- Don’t switch your lane. It is difficult to determine which cars are coming from behind you. Therefore, lane discipline assumes more importance while driving in fog.
- Always drive slowly during fog. Keeping an eye on the speedometer will help you check your speed. Slow driving will help you come to an easy stop if you suddenly confront a stopped vehicle or a person or animal who is crossing the road.
- Never take sudden breaks. It is probably the most crucial driving precaution in foggy conditions. It may result in another car rear-ending you, making things worse for the other traffic on the road. Most accidents on motorways or highways happen due to sudden breaks where several vehicles bump into each other, causing fatal casualties.
- Keep your distance from other cars. Most drivers rely on the tail lights of vehicles in front of them for guidance. The inherent problem with this approach is a short reaction time if the car moving ahead varies its speed or applies sudden breaks. Therefore, keeping a safe distance from other vehicles will reduce the risk of accidents while driving in foggy weather conditions.
- Use windshield wipers. Moisture in the fog causes a glimmer on the windshield, further impairing your vision and making it difficult to see.
- Turn on the defroster in your vehicle. Fog can cause condensation inside your car, which results in foggy windows. If you don’t switch on the heater, condensation on the windows will become thick, rendering your vision completely impaired. To avoid such a situation, use the defrosting feature of your vehicle or turn on the heater.
Whether you’re embarking on a road trip or commuting on highways, understanding these precautions can help you make informed decisions and mitigate risks associated with foggy conditions. By following these guidelines, you can enhance your safety and minimize the likelihood of accidents or mishaps during foggy weather in Pakistan.
Be sure to follow safety tips specifically designed for driving in fog, such as reducing your speed, maintaining a safe distance from other vehicles, and using headlights and fog lights appropriately. However, the best approach is to make every effort to avoid traveling in foggy conditions whenever possible. If travel is necessary, try to schedule your trip during hours when the fog density is shallow or moderate, as this can help improve visibility and reduce the associated risks. By considering these precautions and taking proactive steps, you can enhance your safety and minimize potential hazards while traveling in foggy weather.
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