Preparing for the monsoon: How to stay safe on the road during a storm

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Monsoon downburst over Phoenix Monsoon downburst over Phoenix
Every year, drivers find themselves in this predicament during monsoon storms. Don't be one of them! (Source: 3TV/CBS 5 file) Every year, drivers find themselves in this predicament during monsoon storms. Don't be one of them! (Source: 3TV/CBS 5 file)
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

 Monsoon 2017 starts Thursday, and while we probably won’t see any monster storms for several days yet, now is the time to prepare.

The City of Phoenix went all out Monday to show residents what it is doing to prepare and has put together a #PHXStorm Resources web page, which includes suggestions to protect your family and your property before storms sweep in, as well important information for during and after storms.

[SPECIAL SECTION: Monsoon 2017]

[ONLINE: Phoenix.gov/update]

Kylee Cruz drove through a simulated storm – a torrential downpour similar to what we might see during a monsoon storm with Sgt. Vince Lewis of the Phoenix Police Department.

“What happens is the summer will bake the streets and all of that oil and slippery surfaces will rise to the top making it difficult to drive,” Lewis explained.

That’s why the first rule of driving during a storm is simple – slow down.

“[Heavy rain] obscures your vision to the point where it’s difficult to drive,” Lewis said.

[WATCH: Soon the monsoon: Valley agencies prepare to come to your rescue]

The best bet is to avoid driving at all if possible. Monsoon storms tend to move quickly. Wait it out if you can. If you absolutely have to be on the road, slow down and be sure to leave plenty of space between your vehicle and the one ahead of you.

[RELATED: Unleashing the Power of 2 on Monsoon 2017]

Power of 2: Monsoon 2017 Special

CBS 5 - Monday, June 12 @ 7 p.m. and Saturday, July 1 @ 4:30 p.m.

3TV - Thursday, June 15 @ 8 p.m. and Saturday June 24 @ 8:30 p.m.

If you find yourself in a dust storm, pull as far off the roadway as you can, turn off your lights and take your foot off the brake pedal.

“Pull aside and you’ll stay alive,” Lewis said.

While turning off the lights might seem counterintuitive, drivers behind you might not be able to tell that you’re stopping. Thinking you’re moving, it’s a very real possibility that somebody might drive into the back of your vehicle.

“You do not want other vehicles approaching from behind to use your lights as a guide, possibly crashing into your parked vehicle,” explains the Arizona Department of Public Safety website PullAsideStayAlive.org.

Storms blow up quickly and conditions deteriorate in seconds.

“Do not wait until poor visibility makes it difficult to safely pull off the roadway -- do it as soon as possible,” advises PullAsideStayAlive.org. “Completely exit the highway if you can.”

3TV and CBS 5 meteorologists on Twitter

@AshleeDeMartino | @PaulHortonCBS5 | @royalnorman | @KimQuintero | @SchwartzTV | @aprilwarnecke 

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