Pull Aside, Stay Alive

Do you know what to do if you encounter a dust storm?
Let's start with the basics: Dust storms can happen anytime, but what time of year are you most likely to encounter a dust storm?
The summer monsoon season, with its strong winds and storms, is when you can expect to see the most dust flying across the road.
What is the best way to minimize the risks of a crash during a dust storm??
Being prepared and knowing your safety tips are always good, but avoiding a dust storm is the best way to stay safe! Check the weather and ADOT's social media or az511.gov for the most current information. If a dust storm is occurring near you, please delay travel or find another way to reach your destination.
If you do encounter a dust storm, what's the first thing you should do?
As with all poor driving conditions, the best action to immediately take is to safely reduce your speed.
OK, you're in a dust storm. Visibility is quickly dropping. You've slowed down. What's your next move?
Don't wait for visibility to get bad before pulling over! Do so immediately to avoid the potential for crashes.
With the dust storm all around you, you decide to stop. How far should you pull over?
Exiting the highway to wait out a dust storm is always best. If that's not possible, pull as far to the right as you can. Definitely do not stop in a travel lane and find a safe place to pull off the pavement entirely.
Now that you are safely off of the highway, what should you do?
Remain in your vehicle with your seat belt buckled. Because dust storms reduce both visibility and depth perception, turning off your lights, including emergency flashers, reduces the chance of other vehicles thinking you are moving and trying to follow you. That's also why you should set your emergency brake and take your foot off the brake.
Congratulations! You have safely waited out the dust storm and can get back on your way. Keep these tips in mind for the next time you encounter a dust storm. Remember: Pull Aside, Stay Alive!