Expect wet highways, possible flooding and debris
With strong monsoon storms forecast in much of Arizona this week, be ready for wet roads, potential flooding and even additional dust storms across parts of the state.
The Arizona Department of Transportation says drivers should avoid travel in severe weather conditions if at all possible. Monsoon weather can produce thunderstorms with sudden, heavy rainfall. Keep these tips in mind:
- Don’t risk crossing a flooded wash, even if it doesn’t look deep. Even a few inches of running water poses a serious risk.
- Be extremely careful if traveling in areas where wildfires have burned. Storm runoff can send debris onto highways. It also can loosen boulders and rocks on slopes above highways. Stay alert in areas prone to falling rocks.
- Don’t drive around “Road Closed” signs. You risk your life and face being cited under state law.
- If traffic lights are out, treat an intersection as a four-way stop.
- Inspect your windshield wipers and replace them if necessary.
- Reduce your speed and maintain a safe distance between your vehicle and the one in front of you.
- Avoid sudden braking, which can cause you to slide on wet pavement. To slow down, take your foot off the gas pedal and brake slowly.
Other safety tips for driving in rainstorms are available at azdot.gov/monsoons.
Drivers also should be prepared for dust storms during monsoon weather. Avoid driving into a dust storm. In almost no time, blowing dust can drop visibility to zero, especially where small dust channels afford drivers little or no opportunity to avoid this hazard. Here are other dust storm safety tips:
- If you encounter a dust storm, immediately check traffic around your vehicle (front, back and to the side) and begin slowing down.
- Don’t wait until poor visibility makes it difficult to pull off the roadway safely; do it as soon as possible. Completely exit the highway if you can.
- Don’t 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. You don’t want other vehicles approaching from behind to use your lights as a guide and crash into your vehicle.
- Set your emergency brake and take your foot off the brake.
- Stay in the vehicle with your seat belt buckled and wait for the storm to pass.
- Drivers of high-profile vehicles should be aware of changing weather conditions and reduce speed.
More information on dust storm safety can be found at PullAsideStayAlive.org