November 12, 2007

It's Officially Winter!

Qatar has two seasons: Summer and Winter. It's dry most of the year with a little bit of rain during winter. While winter in Qatar is not as cold as in the temperate zones, temperatures can drop down to 10 degC. It can be really cold especially when there is wind chill.

Astronomically speaking, winter in northern hemisphere begins on winter soltice and ends on spring equinox. Winter soltice occurs on the shortest day or longest night of the year.

Without reference to astronomy, I believe many will agree that today, winter season here in Qatar started "officially." The weather has been really good during the past weeks but for the first time after summer, there's a very thick fog this morning. Upon seeing the fog, I immediately thought of two things: the winter season and the hazards of driving during foggy days. Fog reduces visibility and thus creating hazardous driving conditions. This morning, it's almost zero visibility. I can barely see the cars on the road. In situations like these, one must be really, really careful. If the trip cannot be postponed, drivers should follow these driving tips:

  • Drive with lights on low beam. High beams will only be reflected back off the fog and actually impair visibility even more.
  • Reduce your speed -- and watch your speedometer. Fog creates a visual illusion of slow motion when you may actually be speeding.
  • Listen for traffic you cannot see. Open your window a little, to hear better.
  • Use wipers and defrosters as necessary for maximum visibility.
  • Use the right edge of the road or painted road markings as a guide.
  • Be patient. Do not pass lines of traffic.
  • Do not stop on a freeway or heavily traveled road. If your car stalls or becomes disabled, turn your vehicle's lights off, and take your foot off of the brake pedal. People tend to follow tail lights when driving in fog. Move away from the vehicle to avoid injury.

Hope this helps. Enjoy the winter season and happy driving!

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