The record breaking Arizona heat isn't the only weather problem this time of year.
Dust storms can pop up at any time, which is why ADOT officials are warning drivers to take extra precautions on state roads and freeways.
ADOT public information officer Tom Hermann said that during a recent five-year period, they they tracked at least 85 dust related crashes between Phoenix and Tucson.
Hermann said there are a number of things motorists should do if they find themselves caught in a 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.
- 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 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.
A driver’s alertness and safe driving ability are always the top factors in preventing crashes.
"When you pull aside, you want to turn your lights off," said Hermann. "We've all driven in snow storms or heavy rain, if you're following those brake lights in front of you, drivers behind you can see your tail lights and they will follow you and hit you from behind."
For more information on driving safely in a dust storm visit PullAsideStayAlive.org
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