With severe monsoon storms forecasted across much of Arizona this week, the Arizona Department of Transportation is reminding everyone to be prepared for wet roads, potential flooding, and even additional dust storms. in parts of the state.

ADOT says drivers should avoid traveling in extreme weather conditions whenever possible. Monsoon weather can produce thunderstorms with sudden and heavy rainfall. Keep these tips in mind:

* Don’t risk going through a flooded wash, even if it doesn’t look deep. Even a few inches of running water present a serious risk.

* Be extremely careful if you travel to areas where forest fires have burned. Storm runoff can send debris onto highways. It can also loosen boulders and rocks on the slopes above highways. Stay alert in areas prone to rockfall.

* Do not bypass the “Road closed” signs. You risk your life and risk being cited under state law.

* If the traffic lights are off, treat an intersection as a four-lane stop.

* Inspect your windshield wipers and replace them if necessary.

* Reduce your speed and maintain a safe distance between your vehicle and the one in front of you.

* Avoid hard braking, which can cause you to slip on wet pavement. To slow down, take your foot off the accelerator pedal and brake slowly.

More safety tips for driving in a thunderstorm can be found at azdot.gov/monsoons. Drivers should also be prepared for dust storms during the monsoon. Avoid driving in a dust storm. In no time at all, blowing dust can reduce visibility to zero, especially when the small dust channels offer drivers little or no opportunity to avoid this hazard. Here are some other dust storm safety tips:

* If you encounter a dust storm, immediately check the traffic around your vehicle (front, rear and to the side) and start to slow down.

* Do not wait until poor visibility makes it difficult to exit the road in complete safety; do it as soon as possible. Get off the freeway completely if you can.

* Do not stop in a traffic lane or in the emergency lane. Find a safe place to completely remove yourself from the paved portion of the roadway.

* Turn off all vehicle lights, including your emergency turn signals. You don’t want other vehicles approaching from behind to use your lights as a guide and crash into your vehicle.

* Set your emergency brake and take your foot off the brake.

* Stay in the vehicle with your seat belt on and wait for the storm to pass.

* Drivers of large-scale vehicles should be aware of changing weather conditions and reduce their speed.

You can find more information on dust storm safety at PullAsideStayAlive.org. Real-time road conditions are available on ADOT’s Arizona traveler information site at az511.gov, by calling 511, and through ADOT’s Twitter feed, @ArizonaDOT.


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