Pull Aside Stay Alive

Will you know what to do if you encounter a dust storm?

An approaching dust storm over Phoenix. (Source: gawker.com)

Pull aside and stay alive!

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.

A major dust storm swept through Arizona on Tuesday, July 5, 2011 (see photo below). The dust storm was triggered from thunderstorms to the south of the Phoenix metro area. Dust was blown up by high winds. The winds were estimated to be over 60 miles per hour and caused low visibility. The storm went through the city of Phoenix a little after 7:00 p.m. local time.

A major dust storm swept through Arizona on Tuesday, July 5, 2011 (Credit: Joseph Pickett/bestforbegginers.com)

Local flights in the area were delayed because of the storm. Power outages were also reported.

Arizona transportation officials are getting the message out about dust storm safety — in precisely 17 syllables.

The Arizona Department of Transportation is encouraging Twitter users to tweet haikus around the theme safe driving in haboobs — severe dust storms that hit Phoenix in the summer.

An example, from Phoenix resident Mindy Lee, who goes by the Twitter handle mindyblee: “Haboobs blow through town / In one instant it is dark / Pull over and wait.”

Transportation department spokesman Timothy Tait says the agency was looking for a creative way to engage residents in its “Pull Aside Stay Alive” campaign.

So far they’ve seen more than 30 entries and are re-tweeting some of the best ones.

Some examples are “Haboobs will blind you / They will take you by surprise / In doubt? Don’t go out” and “The haboob hubbub/ The word glorifies dust walls/ Just keep yourself safe.”


Pull Aside Stay Alive

Dust Wall moves into Phoenix East Valley, July 5, 2011 (Source: Grand Canyon Suppliers/kjrh.com)

Website: pullasidestayalive.org

Please Note: This is Part 2 of a 2-part series on Surviving Dust Storms

Part 1: How to Survive a Dust Storm

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Worth Pondering…

On the fourteenth day of April in 1935
There struck the worst of dust storms that ever filled the sky…
From Oklahoma City to the Arizona Line
Dakota and Nebraska to the lazy Rio Grande
It fell across our city like a curtain of black rolled down,
We thought it was our judgment, we thought it was our doom…
—Woody Guthrie, from his song, The Great Dust Storm

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