With the recent long, hot, dry summer, Arizona deserts are likely to produce sudden strong wind storms especially as the weather begins the cool down for the coming autumn. There is little that can be done to limit the severity of these storms, but much that can be done to warn drivers to be aware of their ferocity.
These dust storms tend to become more common in Spring and late summer. They create near zero-visibility levels, especially for drivers caught unaware. Headlights do not do enough to create a safe driving environment and anyone not prepared for a dust storm can quickly find themselves lost or on a collision course for something they would have avoided had they been able to see.
As a result of these storms the Arizona Department of Transportation has issued the following safet tips for anyone driving in Arizona or just passing through:
Avoid driving into or through a dust storm
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
Set your emergency brake and take your foot off the brake
Stay in the vehicle with your seatbelts 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 number one factor to prevent crashes.