Gusty winds, blowing dust could affect travel across Arizona - East Valley Tribune: Ahwatukee Foothills

Gusty winds, blowing dust could affect travel across Arizona

Drivers urged to ‘Pull Aside, Stay Alive’ in low-visibility conditions

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Posted: Monday, April 8, 2013 10:05 am | Updated: 12:52 pm, Fri Sep 6, 2013.

The Arizona Department of Transportation cautions drivers to be prepared for blowing dust today.

The National Weather Service has issued high wind and blowing dust advisories for Monday. Interstate 10 (between Casa Grande and Phoenix, and between Tucson and the New Mexico state line) may be affected by high winds and blowing dust. Strong winds, with gusts up to 60 mph, are also expected along Interstate 8 in southern Arizona and Interstate 40 in the northern part of the state.

Blowing dust can quickly result in low visibility along the highway. ADOT urges drivers to “Pull Aside, Stay Alive” when dust kicks up. Motorists are also encouraged to monitor changing weather conditions and avoid driving into dust storms.

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.

• 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.

• If you encounter a dust storm, check traffic immediately around your vehicle (front, back and to the side) and begin slowing down.

• 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 is still the No. 1 factor in preventing crashes.

ADOT, along with the Department of Public Safety and the National Weather Service, will continue to work as a public safety team to protect Arizona’s drivers, and will closely monitor conditions on the highways while maintaining driver safety.

ADOT, DPS, National Weather Service and the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety recently launched the “Pull Aside – Stay Alive” campaign, including television and radio public-education programs, to aid drivers who encounter dust storms. For more information on the public awareness campaign, including drivers tips, please visit www.PullAsideStayAlive.org.

Drivers planning trips are urged to monitor travel conditions by calling 5-1-1 within Arizona or 1.888.411.ROAD outside the state, or visiting www.az511.gov.

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