Fog Plays Havoc, Whether It’s Helicopter Or Car

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By: Narvijay Yadav

The real reason for Wednesday’s helicopter crash in Tamil Nadu’s Coimbatore district will be known after investigation, but according to local residents, the valley was covered with thick fog at the time of the accident, in which it was difficult to see even two-four metres ahead. The weather changes abruptly at the place where this accident happened, which led to the tragic death of the country’s first Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat, his wife and few others. Neither trees nor mountains were visible because of the dense fog. Fog plays havoc, whether it is air or land, and it has been the main cause of accidents everywhere.

Thousands of road accidents happen every year in India due to fog. According to the data released by the Ministry of Transport, there were 5,886 road accidents in the year 2014, which increased to 7,665 in 2015 and 9,317 in 2016. In 2017, a total of 11,090 accidents occurred due to fog, and then in 2018 the figure increased to 12,678. The sad part is that these accidents are becoming deadlier every year. December and January are the winter months in northern India, which is accompanied by fog. Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Haryana, Punjab and Delhi are the main states where most accidents occur because of fog. Such accidents are more common on highways and expressways.

The International Road Federation has recommended to the Ministry of Transport that front and rear fog lights should be mandatory in all motor vehicles. The movement of vehicles around can be seen even in dense fog with the help of fog lights. Research has shown that by improving visibility, collisions between vehicles can be reduced by up to 30 per cent. Experts say that on foggy nights, visibility is lowest between 1 am and 3 pm. It would be better if you do not drive at this hour of the night. If there is fog in the middle of the road and there is no other option, then the speed of the vehicle should be kept below 40 kmph. When you have trouble seeing, trust your ears. At this time remove the headphones and switch off the music in the vehicle. Pay attention to the horn and guess the distance of the other vehicles.

According to the traffic police advisory, basic traffic rules must be followed while driving in foggy conditions. Prominent among these are – follow your lane, do not overtake, use indicators before turning, keep the speed of the vehicle low and keep the fog lights on. Fog lights can be easily fitted in all types of vehicles and are pocket friendly. When driving in fog, keep headlights on low beam, as high beam makes it difficult to see. Keep the tail lights and blinkers on, so that other drivers can see your vehicle properly. Turn on the heater of the vehicle, so that there is no mist inside. Do not use mobile phones. If the vehicle breaks down mid-way in fog, then a reflective bandage can be put around it and you yourself can go out wearing a reflective jacket. Cyclists and pedestrians can also wear reflective jackets in foggy conditions. (The author is a senior journalist & columnist. He can be reached at [email protected])

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