A new study by compareethemarket.com has shown that it can take drivers 75% longer to recognize a hazard when driving in thick fog, as opposed to clear weather. Snow affects reaction times by 34%, heavy rain by 30% and sun glare by 13%.
Compare the results to determine the results has created a quiz that drivers can use to test their reaction times in different weather conditions. After taking the quiz in front of 1,000 drivers, each type of weather seems to have its own set of challenges that drivers must grapple with.
John Parry, Driving Instructor at Parry’s Fleet Services, offers five tips to help drivers prepare for bad weather driving:
- Driving in the fog:
Use low beam to start. However, if the visibility is less than 100 meters, use fog lights. Always drive slowly and increase the distance between you and the following car whenever you have to brake hard for something you cannot already see. If it’s really thick fog, be sure to open your windows at intersections and roundabouts to hear traffic approaching. But when the conditions are really bad, consider whether your trip is substantial. Finally, it’s important to remember that fog can be spotty. So try not to accelerate when conditions improve. You could walk back a few miles further.
- Driving in the rain:
Reduce your speed and leave more space between you and the car in front. Beware of fast moving vehicles traveling in the opposite direction, which can create spray and reduce your view if you hit your windshield. Also, use your air conditioner to avoid fog. If your vehicle starts seaplane, do not brake, take your foot off the accelerator and slowly slow down.
- Driving in snow and ice:
It can be hard to tell if a road is icy. If your tires make practically no noise on the road, you can drive on ice. If you are on ice, do not brake or you will slide further. If you are behind a spreader or snow plow, do not overtake it unless it is safe to do so. Drive carefully as there may be uncleared snow on the road.
- Driving in storm winds:
You don’t need to be reminded that high sided vehicles are particularly affected by windy weather. However, do not forget that endangered road users such as cyclists, motorcyclists and horse riders can be particularly hard hit by cross winds on exposed roads. Keep a firm grip on the steering wheel, take your time and give other vehicles more space.
- Always have emergency equipment ready:
It’s always best to have an emergency kit in the event of a breakdown. Pack essentials like extra clothes, blankets, umbrellas, water, groceries, and a flashlight in case you stand still for a while. Also, make sure you have packed a warning triangle and place it at least 45 meters (147 feet) behind your vehicle on the same side of the road on the lane to warn other road users.
Dan Hutson, Head of Auto Insurance at compareethemarket.com, said, “A quick response time is key to being a responsible driver. You need to be aware of the conditions around you and be able to respond to them in a timely manner. It is interesting to see from our research that drivers have different reaction times depending on weather conditions, with fog and snow affecting them the most.
“The Highway Code, in its advice on bad weather driving, states that you should ensure that you always have time to react to a potential hazard by keeping your distance from the car in front. Tailgate is illegal and should not be done under any weather conditions However, in adverse weather conditions, you should allow for larger and larger gaps between you and the car in front of you.
“It is also important to do proper vehicle checks and stop frequently before a long journey. Another tip is to get regular eye exams to make sure you meet the minimum standard of eyesight while driving. “
To take the driving weather quiz, go to https://www.comparethemarket.com/car-insurance/content/driving-in-bad-weather/