Arizona might seem like the land of clear skies and bright sunshine, but when winter rolls in it’s worth remembering that high winds are not only possible, they are likely. In fact, wind gusts of up to 70 mph happen every year throughout the winter months.

High winds mean big trouble for drivers, especially unexpected wind gusts which can not only push a vehicle off the road but actually flip an 18-wheeler or a small car. Wind gusts drive debris, lifting tons of sand into the air which can make it difficult if not impossible for the driver to see clearly. These wind storms drive powerful dust storms which regularly inundate cities and towns throughout the state.

The Arizona Department of Transportation regularly issue warnings to drivers to avoid being out on the roads during these dust storms. Not only because the high winds are dangerous but also because visibility is limited and the danger of flying debris is very great. The ADOT suggests drivers stay off the road when high winds are expected. If that is not possible they recommend drivers use extreme caution and be prepared to pull off the side of the road if visibility becomes too difficult.

The Arizona Department of Public Safety will advise drivers when high winds are expected and works in conjunction with ADOT to close roads if driving becomes too dangerous. Drivers are advised to heed these warnings or risk their own personal safety. In the case of driving bans, anyone who violates a road closure or order to stay off the road risks a citation and possible suspension of their driving privileges.

The best suggestion is to stay off the roads when high winds are expected. It is just not worth the risk.