PHOENIX -- The Arizona Department of Transportation urges drivers to stay alert 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 safety when operating their vehicles 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
• 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.
Drivers planning trips are urged to monitor travel conditions by calling 5-1-1 within Arizona, 1-888-411-ROAD outside the state, or at www.az511.gov. The ADOT Traffic Operations Center will post advisory messages on sign boards with dust storm warning information.