The Hamad Injury Prevention Program (HIPP) at Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) Trauma Centre is warning drivers to take extra safety precautions during times of low visibility or foggy weather conditions.
Dr Rafael Consunji, Director of HIPP, the community outreach arm of the HMC Trauma Centre, said they are advising road users to take appropriate measures during low visibility or foggy conditions.
This is most common during early mornings and evenings when cooler weather prevails. Commuters need to be extra aware of their surroundings and more conscious of other road users, especially in areas undergoing construction as this can result in unexpected changes to road layouts and traffic flow.’
According to Dr Consunji, drivers should not drive if weather conditions prevent them from clearly seeing the road and their surroundings. However, if individuals absolutely must drive during times of low visibility, the following safety tips are recommended:
- Ensure all adult passengers are correctly wearing their seat belt and all children are using age-appropriate car seats.
- Before driving during foggy conditions, ensure you know how to correctly use your fog lights. Your vehicle’s instruction manual will provide detailed information on how to do this. Before starting your engine, turn on your fog lights and keep them on until the fog has cleared. Once the fog has dissipated, turn off your fog lights as they can become a hazard to other motorists.
- Hazard lights are meant to be used to warn other motorists that your vehicle has stopped, stalled or that you are driving extremely slowly (under 5 kilometres per hour). If you intend to keep on driving, it is best to set your regular headlights to low beam or turn on your fog lights to avoid confusing other motorists.
- Ensure your windows and mirrors are always clean before driving. During foggy condition, 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.
- Open your windows during times of very low visibility so you can hear oncoming vehicles. This is particularly useful in rural areas or on side roads with less traffic.
- Use your radio to listen to important notifications from the Traffic Department but keep the volume low so that you can still clearly hear noises outside your vehicle.
- Reduce your speed if visibility worsens. Expect to drive as slowly as 10 to 20 kilometres per hour and allow extra time to reach your destination. Before leaving, inform schools or your workplace that you may be arriving late.
- Don’t get too close to the car in front of you. Leave enough space between your vehicle and the car in front so you have time to react should the driver abruptly stop.
- 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. Once parked in a safe location, turn on your hazard lights. If there is no safe location (such as a parking lot or driveway), pull your vehicle off to the side of the road as far as possible. Once you come to a stop, turn off all lights except your hazard lights and put on the handbrake. Do not exit the vehicle unless there is a clear path to a safer location; low visibility conditions are as dangerous for paedestrians as they are for motorists.
- If you are a paedestrian or cyclist, wear reflectors or high-visibility clothing during foggy weather conditions. Wearing high-visibility clothing, such as reflective vests or bright colours, or attaching a light to your bicycle, will allow drivers to notice you in low-visibility conditions.
For more information about HIPP, visit the HMC website at hamad.qa.