Monsoon season: drivers should expect the unexpected

Monsoon season: drivers should expect the unexpected

June 15, 2011

Monsoon season brings high winds, thunderstorms and dust storms.

Monsoon season officially begins today, and brings with it some potentially hazardous driving conditions that all motorists should be prepared for.

According to the National Weather Service, Monsoon season lasts now until the end of September ... that means we're in for more humidity, which leads to thunderstorm activity across higher terrains, lightning, hail, high winds, flash floods, dust storms and extreme heat.

ADOT urges drivers to be prepared for summer storms by following these Monsoon safety driving tips:

  • When it doubt, wait it out! If you see a dust storm ahead, it’s best to exit and wait for the dust to move through the area.
  • When faced with low or zero visibility conditions, pull your vehicle off the road as far to the right as possible. Turn off your lights, set the parking brake and take your foot off the brake pedal. These steps reduce the chances that other drivers mistake your vehicle as the one to follow.
  • Don’t risk crossing a flooded wash, even if it doesn’t look deep. Water is a powerful force that should not be underestimated.
  • Do not drive around ‘Road Closed’ signs. You risk your life and face being cited under the state’s stupid motorist law.
  • If traffic lights are out, treat an intersection just like a four-way stop.
  • Expect the unexpected. Have extra supplies, including an emergency kit and drinking water, in case you experience an extended highway closure.
  • Storm runoff can loosen boulders and rocks on slopes above highways. Stay alert in rockfall prone areas.

ADOT highway maintenance teams are prepared for the Monsoons, too! In fact, ADOT maintenance teams work to clear drainage catch basins throughout the year to limit flooding. Crews also check on the condition of dozens of storm water pump stations along freeways.

To stay up to date on highway conditions across Arizona visit ADOT’s Travel Information site or call 511 from within Arizona.