Would you know what to do if you were hit by gallons upon gallons of water, flying dust, and gusty winds? Every place has weather, and here in Arizona we have Monsoon, which literally means “Rainy Season”. Though our Monsoon brings us relief from the hot weather, it can bring with it lots of dangerous weather. With so many children in vehicles riding in car seats every day, safely driving during the Monsoon becomes even more crucial. Protect yourself and your family when driving during Monsoon with the tips below.
Protecting Yourself and Your Family During Monsoon
Pull Aside and Stay Alive
When dust storms hit, it can be a tough experience for drivers. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association wind gusts can reach between 40 to 60 miles an hour, and driving visibility can be reduced to a quarter of a mile during a dust storm. This is the time to pull your car to the side of the road safely and let the storm pass. Turn off your lights and your engine but turn on your hazard lights to let other motorists know you are there. Dust storms appear out of nowhere and usually last only a few minutes, so keep any children in a car seat, or buckled into the car.
Turn Around Don’t Drown
You are driving down the road, and in a split second, the water is pouring down. Luckily, this time, the storm eases off but a flood of water is now in front of you on the road. Should you go forward? Moving water during Monsoon can be extremely dangerous. Flowing water levels can look low, but pack a powerful punch that leaves your car floating away. One of my past coworkers parked her car on the road and found shelter, only to come back to her car swept away down the road. If the water is at all moving across the road, turn around and find another way to go to keep yourself and your family safe.
Pay attention to weather alerts, and change your driving plans or path if possible, during an emergency warning. Lightning from sudden storms can also cause fires that can make driving during Monsoon especially dangerous. If you come upon a fire or see live power lines down, keep a distance and turn around. If the traffic signal is not working, but it’s safe to proceed, remember to treat it as a four way stop. Listen to the news, alter your driving plans, and take a safe route once the storm has passed.
Maricopa County Sheriff Department made this announcement (summer 2018) about the so-called ‘Stupid Motorist Law’. “During Arizona monsoon season, Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office will not enforce a law that permits some motorists to be billed for the cost of their rescue from flash floods because authorities worry people who can’t afford the fine won’t call for help.” There is no word yet about the enforcement of this law for Monsoon 2021.
Do you change your path when you are driving during Monsoon? Does having children in the car with you change your plans? Tell us how you keep your friends and family safe in the comment section below!
‘Safety Nick’, as he is affectionately known, is the owner and operator of Home Hazard Prevention, LLC (HHP). As a professional firefighter in the Valley since 2005 with an extensive background in responding to and preventing emergencies, Nick felt that it was time to help the citizens of Maricopa and Pinal Counties learn how to be safe and protect their loved ones in a proactive manner. In 2012, HHP was launched. With the support of his wonderful (and understanding!) wife and two beautiful children, Nick works tireless hours, not only to help save your family’s lives, as a firefighter and a community safety expert, but also to be able to spend quality time with his family. Nick moved to Arizona over 20 years ago and enjoys exploring our great state with his family.
Be sure to contact Home Hazard Prevention for any of your personal or family safety needs. From mobile CPR training to car seat education to infant safety (and much more!) HHP is here to help! Remember, a complete safety program does not have to be expensive or time-consuming. As a group of professional firefighters, there is no one more qualified than us to help keep your family safe! (480) 448-0266 or Nick@HomeHazardPrevention.com
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