ADOT cautions drivers about strong winds, blowing dust beginning Friday
Drivers urged to be alert, slow down, pull off roadway
PHOENIX - The Arizona Department of Transportation cautions drivers that strong winds and blowing dust could impact travel Friday and Saturday on Arizona's highways.
The National Weather Service has forecast that very strong winds could kick up dust and limit visibility on highways in areas ranging from northern Arizona to the southern deserts.
Travelers may encounter wind gusts of 40 to 50 mph and blowing dust in the state, including along Interstate 10 between Phoenix and Tucson, State Route 347 near Maricopa, Interstate 8 between Yuma and Casa Grande, and Interstate 40 from Flagstaff to Holbrook. The National Weather Service warns visibility could be reduced to less than half a mile Friday afternoon and evening from Tucson westward, including along I-10.
The strongest winds and greatest risk of blowing dust is forecast for Friday.
Drivers are advised to stay alert and look out in all directions because strong winds can result in sudden periods of limited or zero visibility due to blowing dust, especially in desert areas. Motorists play an important role in their own safety when driving during a dust storm.
ADOT and the Arizona Department of Public Safety recommend the following driving tips when encountering a low-visibility 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, away from where other vehicles may travel.
-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.
-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.
-Be aware that any storm can cause power outages to overhead roadway lighting and traffic signals.
-Drive with caution and treat all intersections without signals as having stop signs in all directions.
For more information and driving tips, please visit PullAsideStayAlive.org.
For the most current information about highway closures and restrictions statewide, visit ADOT's Travel Information Site at az511.gov or call 5-1-1.