PHOENIX — The Arizona Department of Transportation cautions drivers that strong winds and blowing dust could impact travel today on Arizona’s highways.
The National Weather Service has issued wind and blowing dust advisories for much of the state, which are in effect in some areas beginning at 9 a.m. today.
Travelers along Interstate 8 (between Yuma and Casa Grande), Interstate 10 (between Phoenix and Tucson), State Route 347 (near Maricopa) and Interstate 40 (between Flagstaff and Holbrook) may encounter wind gusts between 30 to 50 mph and areas of blowing dust.
Drivers are advised to stay alert because strong winds can result in sudden periods of limited or zero visibility due to blowing dust, especially in desert areas. Motorists play an important role in safety when operating their vehicles during a dust storm.
ADOT and the Arizona Department of Public Safety recommend the following driving tips when encountering a low-visibility 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, away from where other vehicles may travel.
- 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.
- 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 seatbelts 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.
- Be alert that any storm can cause power outages to overhead roadway lighting and traffic signals. Drive with caution and treat all intersections without signals as having stop signs in all directions.
For more information driving tips, please visit PullAsideStayAlive.org.
For the most current information about highway closures and restrictions statewide, visit ADOT’s Travel Information Site at az511.gov or call 5-1-1.