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ADOT calls for creativity in spreading dust storm awareness

Agency ‘dusts off’ popular Haboob Haiku Challenge for third year, launches survey to gauge public attitudes on driving in dust storms
June 11, 2014

PHOENIX – As the official start to monsoon season approaches, the Arizona Department of Transportation is once again asking people to get their creative juices flowing and send in their haboob haikus to help spread the word about driving safely in dust storms.

This year’s Haboob Haiku Challenge gets underway today through ADOT’s social media sites. ADOT first issued the challenge two years ago as part of its “Pull Aside, Stay Alive” dust storm awareness campaign. The challenge has been a big hit on social media in the last couple of years. In fact, worldwide media has featured some of the hundreds of haiku submissions ADOT received each year.

A haiku is a form of structured Japanese poetry that follows the traditional rules of three lines of five, seven and five syllables, respectively. The haikus are designed to reinforce ADOT’s public safety message urging drivers to avoid driving into or through a dust storm. Drivers are instead encouraged to alter travel plans or, if they encounter a dust storm on the road, pull off the roadway and wait it out rather than trying to drive with reduced or zero visibility.

Prospective poets can send their haboob haikus to ADOT via Twitter (twitter.com/ArizonaDOT) using the hashtag #HaboobHaiku. Haikus can also be submitted through ADOT’s Facebook page (Facebook.com/AZDOT) and the ADOT Blog (azdot.gov/blog).

ADOT is also conducting research into communication about dust storms and drivers are invited to participate in a brief survey at http://www.surveyentrance.com/run/pib/p1990/adotwebsite.

The survey, conducted for ADOT by Phoenix-based Partners in Brainstorms, is designed to gauge driver reaction to dust storms, measure ADOT’s educational efforts and explore other ways public-service agencies can reach out to motorists about the dangers of dust storms. This research effort is one of three focus areas for ADOT to combat dust – the others being education and engineering/operations.

In addition to the survey, selected community members will have the opportunity to participate in focus groups to help shape ADOT’s future public-education efforts about dust and other low-visibility events that impact highway travel.

Some of the favorite haboob haikus from last year include:

  • Oh snap, crackle, pop / Dust has you blind / Pull over or you’ll want to cry
  • Here comes the haboob / Pull over to watch and wait / Resume when all clear
  • Haboob coming fast / Do not worry, it won’t last / Be wise – do not drive

The “Pull Aside, Stay Alive” campaign re-launched Monday as part of Arizona Monsoon Awareness Week. The campaign now runs year-round, reminding drivers about the dangers of dust storms.

Dust storm driving tips and educational videos can be found at PullAsideStayAlive.org.