Dust Storm Tips


Dust storms are common between May and September - drivers should use extreme caution.

Drivers should proceed slowly to the nearest exit and leave the highway until the dust storm subsides. If you are unable to pull off the roadway, proceed at a speed suitable for visibility, turn on lights and sound horn occasionally. Use the painted centerline to help guide you. Look for a safe place to pull off the roadway.

Drivers should never stop on the highway. If an exit is not available, pull the vehicle completely off the pavement before stopping, turn off all lights to reduce the possibility of a rear-end collision, and set the emergency brake.

Personal Protection

The best precaution is simply to avoid going outside during severe dust storms.

If you must go out in a dust storm, wear some type of covering over your nose and mouth to provide some protection. Breathe through a wet face cloth or coat the nostrils with a small amount of petroleum jelly to minimize drying of mucous membranes. Lips can be protected with lip balm. Wear neckerchiefs and bandannas to protect the head and face. Also, wear goggles for eye protection from winds, dust and sand. Moving vehicles create their own sandstorm, so travelers in open vehicles should wear goggles.

Include at least one gallon of water in your emergency road kit.

Related Weather Dangers

Thunderstorms during the monsoon normally occur during July and August and are more common in the late afternoon. Never attempt to drive across a stream or wash that is filled with water during a storm.

Beware that high winds usually accompany thunderstorms, causing problems for high-profile vehicles, such as motor homes and commercial vehicles.

Visit the Arizona Emergency Information Network website.