Safe driving tips during dust storms

RACV External Communications

Posted January 31, 2020

Dust storms can provide potentially deadly conditions for road users, warns the RACV.

RACV Senior Motoring Journalist Tim Nicholson has this advice for driving in dust storms:

“The biggest danger during a dust storm is reduced visibility,” Tim said.

“Fortunately, in most cases, dust storms can be seen coming which gives drivers time to prepare.

“The best advice is not to drive into or through a dust storm if possible.”

Dust storms occur when strong winds blow over loose topsoil or sand, picking up so much material that visibility is seriously reduced.

“Dust storms most commonly occur in rural areas, but they can travel long distances,” Tim warned.

“If you get caught in a dust storm, turn your headlights on, so other motorists can see your vehicle.

“Begin slowing down, then pull over as soon as safely possible, don’t wait until visibility becomes so poor you can’t see where you are going.”

RACV has these tips for safely negotiating a dust storm:

  • Stop your car well off the road in a safe location
  • Close all windows and turn your vehicle’s ventilation system to recirculated air
  • Turn on your hazard lights
  • Stay in your vehicle and wait for the storm to pass.

“Once the storm passes, and visibility is at least 100 metres, it should be safe to resume your journey” Tim added.

“But, exercise caution as there may be debris on the road surface.”


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