TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - As Monsoon Awareness Week begins and the official start of monsoon season is nearly here, the Arizona Department of Transportation wants to remind drivers to “Pull Aside, Stay Alive”.
However, even after they have pulled aside, one of the most important actions for the driver must still be taken – turning off their vehicle lights - all of them!
This includes headlights, emergency flashers, dome lights and they should remember to take their foot off the brake. Stay buckled up, set the parking brake, go dark and wait for the dust storm to pass.
ADOT explains why this needs to be done: Drivers who become caught in a dust storm and have pulled off the highway, are in a dangerous spot – less dangerous than driving blind on the road, though – and want to hide. They can do that by turning off all vehicle lights. If drivers leave lights on, drivers behind them might believe they have found the way out and follow, crashing into their parked car because low-visibility affects depth perception.
“Road trips are a great way to get out and experience all that Arizona has to offer,” Governor Doug Ducey said during last year’s campaign. “If there’s a dust storm in your path, it’s time to take a break from driving. Make the safe and smart decision to delay your travel plans and wait for the storm to pass.”
Here are a few dust storm safety driving tips, which can help travelers survive a storm:
- Avoid driving into or through a dust storm.
- Those who encounter a dust storm, should immediately check traffic around their 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.
- Turn off all vehicle lights. You do not want other vehicles approaching from behind to use your lights as a guide, possibly crashing into your parked vehicle.
- Set the vehicle’s emergency brake and drivers should take their foot off the brake.
- Stay in the vehicle with 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.