Posted on January 01, 2019

Director of Hamad Injury Prevention Program (HIPP) at Hamad Medical Corporation’s (HMC) Hamad Trauma Center Dr Rafael Consunji has urged drivers to take extra precautions during foggy weather and times of low visibility, to avert accidents. HIPP is the community outreach arm of HMC’s Trauma Center.

The safety expert said that to counter dense fog, many drivers switch on their hazard lights, a practice, he warned, can be very dangerous. “Fog makes it difficult to judge the distance between cars and a driver’s ability to anticipate dangers is limited. So, it’s very important for drivers to keep a safe distance, to use their headlights on low beam, or fog lights and to avoid using hazard warning lights unless they have completely stopped or are driving extremely slowly (20 km/hour). If you use your hazard lights unnecessarily, you cannot signal your intent to turn or change lane and you increase the risk of another vehicle crashing into yours,” said Dr Consunji.

The hazard lights, Dr Consunji noted, should only be used to warn other road users when a vehicle is a temporary hazard, for example, when driving very slowly, when a vehicle has broken down on the side of the road, a tyre is being changed or the vehicle is being towed. “Foggy weather is most common during early mornings and evenings when cooler weather prevails. Commuters need to be extra careful during these hours, especially in areas undergoing construction as this can result in unexpected changes to road layouts and traffic flow,” said Dr Consunji.

According to Dr Consunji, drivers should not drive if weather conditions prevent them from clearly seeing the road and their surroundings. However, if individuals must drive during times of low visibility, they should ensure that all adult passengers are wearing their seatbelts and all children using age-appropriate car seats. They must know how to correctly use fog lights, and before starting the engine, should turn on the fog lights and keep them on until the fog has cleared. They can turn off the fog lights once the fog has dissipated.

The motorists should also ensure that the windows and mirrors of their vehicles are always clean before driving, he recommends further. “During foggy conditions, leave your windows partially rolled down and use your defroster and wipers to keep them clear and clean. For faster defogging, use the air conditioner with the temperature set to hot. This will also clear condensation from your windows,” he added. Dr Consunji advised motorists to open the windows of their cars during times of very low visibility so they can hear the oncoming vehicles. This is particularly useful in rural areas or on side roads with less traffic.

He also urged commuters to use radio to listen to important notifications from the Traffic Department, but keep the volume low; reduce speed if visibility worsens to 10 to 20 kilometres per hour; maintain enough space with the car in front. He said, “In extremely dense fog where visibility is near zero, slow down, signal your intent to turn using your indicator and pull slowly off the road to a safe location. If you are a pedestrian or cyclist, wear reflectors or high-visibility clothing during foggy weather conditions to get noticed by drivers.”

source: Qatar Tribune