Drivers beware: ADOT warns motorists about summer dust storms


The extreme Arizona heat isn't the only weather problem this time of year. 

Dust storms and monsoon showers can happen at any time, which is why ADOT officials are warning drivers to take extra precautions on state roads and freeways.

[RELATED: Alert system malfunctions as dust storm hits Phoenix area]

ADOT public information officer Tom Hermann said that during a recent five-year period, they tracked at least 85 dust-related crashes between Phoenix and Tucson.

[SPECIAL SECTION: Arizona Monsoon]

Hermann said there are a number of things motorists should do if they find themselves caught in a dust storm:

  • Avoid driving into or through a dust storm.
  • If you encounter a dust storm, check traffic immediately around your vehicle (front, back and to the side) and begin slowing down.
  • 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.
  • 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 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 are always the top factors in preventing crashes.

"When you pull aside, you want to turn your lights off," said Hermann. "We've all driven in snow storms or heavy rain, if you're following those brake lights in front of you, drivers behind you can see your tail lights and they will follow you and hit you from behind."

[RELATED: How to survive a dust storm: ADOT's tips for drivers]

For more information on driving safely in a dust storm visit

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Jason Barry
Jason Barry has been reporting in the Valley since 1997.

Click to learn more about Jason.

Jason Barry

Jason Barry has been reporting in the Valley since 1997.

He is a nine-time Rocky Mountain Emmy Award winner who is best known for his weekly Dirty Dining reports, which highlight local restaurants with major health code violations.

Jason was born in Los Angeles and graduated from the University of Miami.

An avid sports fan, Jason follows the Diamondbacks, Cardinals and Suns with his wife, Karen, and son, Joshua.

His favorite stories to cover are the station’s Pay it Forward segments, which reward members of the community with $500 for going ‘above and beyond’ the call of duty to help others.

Jason, started his career at WBTW-TV in Florence, SC before moving to WALA-TV in Mobile, AL, was named the Associated Press Reporter of the Year in 2002.

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