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Monsoon driving in Arizona: 4 tips that could save your life

Posted at 4:46 AM, Jun 15, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-12 22:40:35-04

Monsoon season has arrived, and after eight months of easy driving, we’ll now have to contend with rain, wind and dust.  

Whether you’re new to Arizona or you’re a native, here are four easy reminders to keep you safe.

1. Pull aside, stay alive

If there is dust moving through the Valley, it’s safest to stay off the roads. But if you find yourself caught in a dust storm, there is one tip you have to remember: Pull aside, stay alive.

  • Safely pull off the roadway.
  • Turn off your lights and put your vehicle in PARK. Leave your foot off the brake, so your brake lights are not illuminated. Other motorists may tend to follow taillights as an attempt to get through the dust storm and may strike your vehicle from behind.
  • Stay in the vehicle with your seatbelts buckled and wait for the storm to pass.

2. Turn around, don’t drown

When it rains here in the desert, the soil can’t handle it. Water runoff can turn our roadways into raging rivers in an instant.

If you see water on the roads, don’t try to drive through it! It may seem like common sense, but we see it all the time. 

“It just takes a few inches of water to cause your vehicle to move,” said Michelle Donati, with AAA Arizona.

Just turn around and find another way. It could save your life and a lot of money on car repairs. 

3. Check your tires

During the monsoon, Arizona roads become littered with shredded tires, sometimes referred to as tire "gators." 

Now is the perfect time to check two things: pressure and tread. Make sure to inflate your tires to your manufacturer's PSI and you can learn how to check tire tread here.

4. Get your wipers replaced

It’s important to replace your wipers every 12 months, but a lot of us don’t even think about it, or realize they're damaged, because we go several months without rain. The start of monsoon season is the perfect reminder to get them replaced. 

“A lot of people in Arizona have been through the situation when they've turned them on, and the windshield wipers just separate when you need them the most. That's a really scary situation to be in,” Donati said.

Wiper blades are cheap, and you can save money if you replace them yourself. Check your car’s instruction manual or look on YouTube.