Do You Know What to Do During a Dust Storm?

A massive dust storm rolls into the Phoenix area in 2011. | Daniel Bryant

Massive dust storms, or haboobs, are a regular occurrence in Phoenix and other parts of Central Arizona during the summer monsoon. The Valley of the Sun experienced a good one last week, when a mile-high wall of dust rolled through town.

But do you know what to do if you're on the road and a dust storm hits? Here are a few tips from the Arizona Department of Transportation, which promotes dust storm safety via its "Pull Aside, Stay Alive" campaign.

  • Avoid driving into or through a dust storm.
  • If you encounter a dust storm, immediately check traffic 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.
  • 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.

Dust storms can be scary, but they usually pass fairly quickly and you can be on your way again.

For more information, visit ADOT's Pull Aside, Stay Alive page.


How about information on what to do if you are not in a car? Outside walking? In your house?

never ever put your head ouside during a dust storm! That´s what i did i Aug 1988, when i was for the first time in Arozona. I am fromthe northern part of and i live between 2 oceans I have had for several days ears eyes, mouth and nose filled with sand,lol

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