Arizona’s annual monsoon season comes with a risk of high winds, rain and flash floods. Monsoon season can have dangerous and abrupt weather changes, such as lightning, thunder, hail, dust storms, extreme heat, thunderstorms and flooding. The season runs from June through September. Monsoon season is a part of life for people in Arizona. Driving safely during monsoon season takes understanding the risks and knowing how to mitigate them. The Arizona Department of Transportation urges drivers to take responsibility for safe driving during monsoon season with a few important tips.
Pack an Emergency Kit
Something that can help you feel calmer and more in control is monsoon preparation. Before you get on the road, put an emergency monsoon kit in the backseat. Your kit should include water, a flashlight, a first aid kit, a radio, extra batteries, a phone charger and nonperishable food items. If a flash flood sweeps your car away and leaves you stranded, your emergency kit will help you while you wait for help to arrive.
Watch the Weather
The best road safety tip is to stay off the road during a bout of dangerous weather in Arizona. Watch the local weather and subscribe to safety alerts. If experts are predicting a dust storm or flash flood, stay home. If you are already on the road and see bad weather coming your way, try to pull off the road somewhere safe and wait for it to pass. Use your hazard lights if you must park close to the road.
Avoid Flash Flood Regions
Flash floods are one of the deadliest risks during monsoon season. They are responsible for the most deaths in Arizona than any other type of storm-related hazard (40 fatalities since 1996). Flash floods can develop in minutes, with little to no warning. They can occur with or without accompanying rain. Do your best to map out a route that avoids known flash flood areas. Avoid low-lying areas and valleys in Arizona – especially downstream from a dam. Stay away from rivers, creeks and streams, even if they are dried out.
Letting fear or stress overcome you during bad weather on the road could lead to a preventable accident. In many car crash cases, it is not necessarily the weather that caused the wreck, but the driver’s overreaction to a dangerous condition. Remain calm and expect the unexpected while driving during Arizona’s monsoon season. If you feel overwhelmed in bad weather, take deep breaths and give yourself extra room on the road. Slow down and remain in control of your vehicle.
Do Not Drive Through High Water
If you cannot tell the depth of a puddle or stream on the road, stop your car and take a different route or wait for the bad weather to pass. Six inches of water is enough to make a vehicle stall or lose control. A foot of water can pick most vehicles up off the road. Never try to drive through an area that is experiencing a flood. Drive carefully even in smaller amounts of water. Any amount of water can be enough to make a vehicle hydroplane and crash.
Use designated evacuation routes during a weather emergency, not shortcuts or detours. Never drive around signs that say Road Closed, Roadblocks or Do Not Cross. You could end up in an extremely dangerous flood zone. If your vehicle stalls while passing through water, climb onto your roof and call for emergency assistance. Get to dry land and shelter to wait if it is safe to pass through low levels of water. Otherwise, wait on your roof for help to arrive.
Pull Over in a Dust Storm
A dust storm can impede visibility and cause vehicle collisions. If you suddenly cannot see because of a cloud of dust, pull to the side of the road, as far to the right as you can. Turn off your vehicle so the engine does not pull in any dust or sand. Set your emergency brake and wait for the dust storm to pass. Use your emergency kit for sustenance or assistance, if necessary. Staying prepared and expecting anything as a driver can help you handle dangerous weather safely during Arizona’s monsoon season.
If a reckless driver caused your accident during monsoon season, contact our experienced Glendale car accident lawyers to help you with your claim.