This afternoon’s commute turned deadly when a sudden dust storm fell upon both the east and the westbound lanes of the I-10 between Tucson and Phoenix near Picacho. At least one driver has been confirmed dead and several people have been injured after nearly 30 cars piled up on the interstate. Traffic is thick and being rerouted while EMT’s and highway patrol treat injured and clear the road of damaged cars and debris.
Dust storms are a common event for Arizonan’s especially of that specific stretch of highway where vast desert fields align the road. If you have ever been on the road in the midst of such a storm you know that visibility can sometimes dwindle to zero. However many people are unsure of what to do while driving in a dust storm.
Tips for Driving in a Dust Storm
- Turn headlights off.
- If you have enough visibility to stay on the road decrease speed while driving.
- If visibility is nil, slow down and pull as far off to the right side as possible.
- If you have pulled over put your parking brake on and keep your foot on the brake pedal.
Though deadly serious, dust storms are usually brief. Unfortunately they can culminate into blinding walls of dust as quickly as they dissipate but as long as drivers have time to respond to an oncoming storm and each person follows the tips listed above we can decrease the dust storm related fatalities. In Arizona, on average, five people die in approximately 119 auto accidents caused by dust storms each year, leaving hundreds injured as well.
If you have questions about driving in a dust storm or would like to discuss a serious injury with an attorney, please contact us today.
Our thoughts are with those who were injured today and the family of the driver who lost his life.