Why you should turn off your vehicle's lights when pulling aside for dust

Why you should turn off your vehicle's lights when pulling aside for dust

June 13, 2016

By Doug Pacey / ADOT Communications

With Monsoon Awareness Week underway, we're highlighting the Arizona Department of Transportation's Pull Aside, Stay Alive campaign emphasizing dust storm safety.

The campaign, which began in 2012, urges motorists to avoid driving into dust storms. If you are caught in low-visibility blowing dust, do the following: pull off the roadway as far as possible, turn off all vehicle lights, set the emergency brake and wait out the storm.

Wait. Turn off all vehicle lights?

Yes, and here’s why: If your car’s lights remain on, any vehicles coming up from behind could use the lights as a beacon, crashing into your car. Remember, you’ve pulled off the roadway to avoid other vehicles. Don’t leave on the lights and increase the possibility of attracting one.

Here’s the full list of “Pull Aside, Stay Alive” dust storm safety tips:

  • 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. You do not want other vehicles approaching from behind to use your lights as a guide, possibly crashing into your parked vehicle.
  • Set your emergency brake and take your foot off the brake.
  • Stay in the vehicle with your seat belts 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.