How To Drive Safely In a Dust Storm

Dust storms are strong winds filled with dense, blinding dust. They occur in the southwestern United States in summer. If you know what to look for, you can see a dust storm coming from miles away. It looks like a giant cylinder of dust, many miles wide, rolling across the desert.

But motorists who are not familiar with dust storms might not be certain what they are looking at. If a dust storm approaches a highway from the side, its full length covers the highway in blowing dust at the point of impact, throwing hundreds of drivers into near darkness in an instant.

Multiple-car pile-ups, serious injuries, and deaths can be caused when a dust storm blindsides drivers on a busy highway.

If a dust storm strikes, use the same rules you would for driving in fog. Do not stop on the road, because cars coming behind you will not see you in time to stop. instead, slow down and pull to the side of the road, turn off all lights and wait until it's safe to resume driving. If traffic prevents you from pulling off the road, look down at the white lines on the pavement to keep the car pointing in the right direction, and drive very slowly, until the dust passes, which should only take a few minutes.