How to survive dust storm while driving

MONSOON 2017: How to survive driving through a dust storm
Published: Apr. 29, 2016 at 12:51 PM MST|Updated: Jun. 13, 2018 at 4:17 PM MST
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TUCSON, AZ (AAA) - The following are safety tips from the AAA:

Dust storms are common in Arizona and usually occur between May and September.  The most intense storms occur during the late summer months known as monsoon.

Dust storms can create dangerous, sometimes even deadly driving conditions and sometimes reduce visibility to zero. The area between Tucson and Phoenix is noted for being the only place in the United States to experience the "haboob," a raging dust storm that travels across the desert at 50 to 60 mph.

AAA says drivers need to be especially careful when they get behind the wheel of a car and practice safe driving habits so they don't find themselves "at one" with a large tree or worse, another vehicle.

If you run into a severe dust storm, reduce the speed of your vehicle immediately and drive carefully off the highway. After you are off the paved portion of the roadway, turn off your vehicle's lights to ensure other cars do not follow you off the road and hit your vehicle. Wait until the dust storm had passed before getting back on the highway. If you are walking or riding your bike, get inside quickly or seek shelter.

Here are some other tips to help drivers safely maneuver through the Valley during a monsoon storm:

  • Reduce speed and turn on driving lights
  • Pull off the roadway

After you are completely off the traveled portion of the roadway:

  • Turn off driving lights
  • Keep your car radio on
  • If you are on the freeway, leave the freeway at an exit ramp, if possible.
  • Wait until visibility is at least 300 feet before re-entering the roadway.
  • Heavy rain may follow the dust storm.

If you see a dust storm forming in the distance, exit the roadway immediately.

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