DPS offers monsoon driving tips

Published: Sep. 21, 2015 at 4:56 PM MST|Updated: Nov. 16, 2015 at 5:56 PM MST
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During the monsoon in Arizona, getting behind the wheel can be hazardous.

State police respond to the increased dangers motorists face with slippery roads, unexpected wind gusts, flooded highways and poor visibility.

The Arizona State Troopers Association offers these tips to help motorists stay safe:

• SLOW DOWN: With heavy rains and lower visibility, it is important to stay safe by slowing down or waiting out the storm. Safer speeds might be slower than the posted speed limit.

• AVOID RUNNING WASHES: Do not drive through running wash areas, as vehicles can become stranded. Washes can sweep way vehicles, endangering motorists and their passengers. If public emergency personnel are called to rescue a flooded motorist, the cost of those services can be billed to the motorist, plus an additional penalty up to $2,000 under Arizona's "Stupid Motorists Law".

• WATCH FOR SIGNS: Look for warnings from Arizona Department of Transportation billboards or call (with a hands-free device) 511 for updates. Mobile apps and services can also alert motorists by phone.

• DUST STORMS: If caught in a dust storm, pull over, turn off the vehicle and headlights and put the emergency brake on. Also, keep your foot off the brake pedal. Wait out the storm until the roadways are visible. Pull aside, stay alive.

• KEEP YOUR DISTANCE: Wet roads can affect breaking and stopping distance, so leave plenty of room between vehicles.

• KNOW THE LAW: If a traffic light is down, treat an intersection as a four-way stop.

• CHECK YOUR EQUIPMENT: Make sure vehicle lights and windshield wipers are working properly. Also check the vehicles tires, as poor tires conditions can result in the increased likelihood of sliding or hydroplaning.

• LEAVE EARLY: Anticipate congestion and slower speeds when driving during a monsoon, so allow extra time when traveling to a destination.

• KEEP A KIT: Consider an emergency kit with items like a first aid kit, flashlight, flares, jumper cables, jack and ground mat for changing tires, water, non-perishable food, boots, extra cell phone charger/batter booster, kitty litter/sand for traction and whistle.

• BUCKLE UP: Always buckle up. It's not only the law, but it's the smart thing to do.