What to do when driving during a dust storm

Dust storms and the Monsoon. They go hand in hand along Interstate 10. ADOT and the Arizona Department of Public Safety recommend the following driving tips when encountering a low-visibility dust storm:

Courtesy: Mike Olbinski
Courtesy: Mike Olbinski

* Consider putting off any travel if a Blowing Dust Advisory or Dust Storm Warning is issued.
* Do not wait until poor visibility makes it difficult to safely pull off the roadway – do it as soon as possible. Completely exit the highway if you can.
* If you encounter a dust storm, check traffic immediately around your vehicle (front, back and to the side) and begin slowing down.
* Do not stop in a travel lane or in the emergency lane; look for a safe place to pull completely off the paved portion of the roadway.
* Stop the vehicle in a position ensuring it is a safe distance from the main roadway and away from where other vehicles may travel.
* Turn off all vehicle lights, including your emergency flashers. Studies have shown that more accidents occur when vehicle lights are turned on, due to other drivers following lights and thinking they’re still on the roadway.
* Set your emergency brake and take your foot off the brake.
* Stay in the vehicle with your seat belts buckled and wait for the storm to pass.
* Drivers of high-profile vehicles should be especially aware of changing weather conditions and travel at reduced speeds.
* A driver’s alertness and safe driving ability is still the No. 1 factor in preventing crashes.

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