I-17 101 traffic interchange

Be prepared to ‘Pull Aside, Stay Alive’ during monsoon season

Be prepared to ‘Pull Aside, Stay Alive’ during monsoon season

June 10, 2024

ADOT marks Monsoon Awareness Week

PHOENIX – A wall of dust that towers on the horizon. A heavy downpour of localized rain. These weather occurrences that happen during the monsoon season can rapidly reduce visibility and create unsafe driving conditions.  

With the monsoon season rapidly approaching – officially, it runs June 15-Sept. 30 – ADOT is reminding motorists during Monsoon Awareness Week (June 9-15) how to stay safe and be prepared for the extreme weather that monsoon season brings.

Let’s start with dust storms. The best thing to do if you see a dust storm? Don’t drive into it. But what if you encounter low-visibility blowing dust or a dust channel and aren’t able to exit the highway? Act quickly and follow the “Pull Aside, Stay Alive” tips:

  • Check traffic around you and begin slowing down.
  • Pull off as far right as you can and exit the highway before visibility becomes poor.
  • 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.
  • Set your emergency brake and take your foot off the brake.
  • Turn off all vehicle lights, including emergency flashers. You do not want vehicles approaching from behind to use your lights as a guide and possibly crash into your vehicle.
  • Stay in the vehicle with your seatbelt buckled and wait for the storm to pass.

Although Arizona is known for its heat and desert climate, the monsoon can produce sudden, heavy rainfall. Make sure you regularly check your windshield wipers and replace them if needed – our dry climate can destroy rubber wiper blades. If you’re caught in rainy conditions, remember to:

  • Turn on your headlights.
  • Reduce your speed and maintain a safe distance between your vehicle and the one in front of you.
  • Avoid sudden braking, which can cause you to slide on the wet pavement. 
  • Avoid areas where water is pooling in travel lanes.

And because summer is road-trip season, ADOT recommends motorists prepare for unplanned delays by packing a summer emergency travel kit that includes plenty of extra water, snacks,  sun protection (hat, umbrella, sunscreen, etc.), flashlight, extra batteries and a fully charged cell phone.

Drivers and passengers can get real-time travel conditions and access to highway cameras at ADOT’s Arizona Traveler Information site at az511.gov or by downloading the AZ511 app.