Riding your motorcycle in fog is a huge challenge even for motorists on four wheels. Fog can occur around your next corner. These conditions can be additionally amplified with rain and accompanying darkness.
Preparation and knowing what to expect in foggy situations is crucial to your safe riding and to arriving at your destination.
The main rule for fog conditions as a rider, is don’t ride. Delay your ride until it clears. However, that’s not always possible. So if you’re caught in fog or in a situation where you must ride in it, these are the challenges you’ll need to prepare for:
- Rider visibility loss. Your view of potential hazards, both ahead and from behind – i.e. the threat of being rear-ended by a faster moving vehicle – is severely limited.
- Accumulation of moisture on helmet face shield or goggles prevents your ability to see the road and identify hazards.
- The ability of other motorists to see you is much diminished.
- Rider disorientation with the road and surroundings and visual loss of the horizon. This will increase your chance of getting lost, missing exits, miscalculating corners, etc.
- Road side vulnerability caused if you need to slow or move to the roadside.
- Sudden whiteout effect caused by changing density of fog illumination by light.
Riding Strategies in Fog
- Call ahead to your destination and alert someone as to your route and expected time of arrival.
- Make sure you have a full tank of gas before departing.
- Take the most familiar route to your destination.
- Use a defogging agent on your face shield and goggles and eyewear.
- Wipe and ensure your mirrors are clean, when riding your motorcycle in fog.
- Double check strapped on luggage to ensure that it is tightly secured.
- Wear a reflective high visibility vest.
- Use your regular headlamp mode. The high beam reflects off moisture droplets in the fog, which will make it near impossible to see.
- Pay full attention to your riding.
- Slow down gradually, riding at a speed which not only suits the conditions but allows you more time to react.
- Watch your speed. You may be going faster than you think. If so, reduce speed gradually. Remember, you want time to react.
- Remain calm, patient and relaxing. Sudden movements and panic will cost you.
- Avoid passing, changing lanes and crossing traffic.
- Use pavement markings on the curb side of your lane to help guide you not the centre line particularly when there are oncoming headlights. These will glare out the centreline in the fog.
- Increase your following distance. You will need an extra distance to brake safely.
- Watch for any electronically operated warning signs.
- Keep looking as far ahead as possible.
- Monitor your rear view mirrors for fast approaching vehicles from behind and, if necessary, prepare to take evasive action.
- If another vehicle is following too close, tap your brakes lightly to flash your taillight or turn on the bike’s hazard lights, if you have them.
- Avoid sudden inputs to the brakes or steering, and use engine braking as much as possible.
- Follow the tail lights of another vehicle, at a safe distance and speed, to reduce any spatial disorientation.
- If forced to stop, either by the fog becoming too dense or a mechanical problem, move yourself and your bike well off the road.
- If the fog is too dense to ride, pull completely off the road and try to position your vehicle in a safe parking area. Turn on your hazard lights if you have them. Move away from your bike, off the road, a safe distance away from your bike.
Four Don’ts When Riding Your Motorcycle in Fog
- Don’t stop on the travelled part of the road. Even if you run out of fuel, or have a mechanical issue, move yourself to the road side immediately. You could be hit from behind.
- Don’t speed up suddenly, even if the fog seems to be clearing. You could find yourself suddenly back in fog around the next corner.
- Don’t speed up to pass a vehicle moving slowly, drop back and create space – it’s too risky.
- Don’t speed up to get away from a vehicle that is following too closely. Instead, signal, move to the shoulder or off the road and if needed, allow the following vehicle to pass.
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