The following safety tips come from the Arizona Department of Public Safety.
Summertime brings unexpected and at times unpredictable dust storms. Dust storms are caused when high winds sweep across unplanted agricultural fields or dry desert terrain, causing dust to engulf nearby highways. Dust storms are generally brief, but must be taken seriously because of blinding conditions on the highways. Dust storms have been attributed to many collisions resulting in loss of property, injury and death.
Dust storms are more common between the May and September on Interstate 10 between Phoenix and Tucson, Interstate 10 between Benson and the New Mexico State line, and on Interstate 8 between Casa Grande and Yuma. Persons traveling during the summer and other times of year are encouraged to listen to weather reports on radio and television, especially during windy conditions. Weathermen report when dust storms are possible.
If motorists see a dust storm crossing the road or are engulfed in one, they should pull off the highway a safe distance and wait for the dusty conditions to pass. When stopped, turn off lights; set the emergency brake, and make sure the brake light is off. This will reduce the possibility of a rear-end collision.
If conditions prevent pulling off the road, proceed at an appropriately reduced speed. In this situation, turn your lights on and use the center line as a guide. Again remember never to stop on the pavement.
Nighttime, especially Saturday night and early Sunday morning, is the most hazardous time to drive in Arizona. During 1990, 47.1 percent of Arizona's fatal accidents occurred between sunset and sunrise.
There are various factors for such tragic statistics, according to researchers at the Arizona Department of Public Safety.
Some drivers exceed the speed limit, drink too much and try to drive home when they are too tired to do so. Then there are those who refuse to drive within the range of their vehicle's headlights.
Research indicates about six percent of this state's fatal traffic accidents occur on either Saturday night or early Sunday morning.
The majority of these accidents occur in clear weather and on dry pavement. So driver error plays a key role in highway death statistics. At DPS, we believe most motorists become more aware of highway safety when darkness diminishes their visibility. But there still are too many drivers who drive too dangerously, especially at nighttime.
Here are some helpful suggestions to safer nighttime driving:
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