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Dust storms in Arizona can make driving dangerous

Most areas of the nation have their own unique weather-related driving hazards. Depending on the location, it could be fog, ice, snow squalls, floods or — in Arizona — dust storms. They can spring up very quickly and thoroughly obscure a driver’s vision. 

You may not be able to spot another oncoming vehicle – and they may not be able to see you, either. Knowing some proper techniques for how to drive in a hazardous dust storm ahead of time could keep you and your passengers safe.

What is a dust storm?

According to the Arizona Emergency Information Network, dust storms, which can be triggered by thunderstorms, are actually “a large wall of dust and debris.”  They can be huge – “miles long and thousands of feet high.” A cloud that gigantic can be scary to navigate, especially if you never encountered anything like it before. You can feel enveloped by it because it seems to block everything out.

Before a dust storm strikes

Be alert for dust storm watches and warnings on television and radio. Those announcements are intended to let everyone know when a dust storm may be imminent.

If you get caught in a dust storm while driving

Dust storms can strike without warning, so do the following:

  • Drive the vehicle far away from the road. 
  • Shut the taillights and headlights.
  • Make sure your car or truck is in “park.”
  • Remain inside. Leave your seat belt fastened.
  • Make sure the dust storm is definitely over before resuming travel.

Listen for any additional alerts in case more severe weather is expected in your area soon.

You are always sharing the road with other drivers. Some of them may take risks that you would not take. Some are better prepared for unanticipated events than others. If you get caught in a dust storm and your vehicle is hit by another vehicle, you may want to see if you can obtain compensation for your injuries.


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