Tucson, Ariz.(Nov. 27, 2013) – As of Thanksgiving weekend, the rains have come to quench the Arizona desert. But dust storms are still in the news, especially after an Oct. 29 storm caused a 21-car pileup on I-10 between Tucson and Phoenix. With the number of dust storms steadily rising – a trend expected to continue due to Arizona’s continued drought – smart drivers will want to know how to protect themselves.
“Particularly for winter visitors new to the desert, the speed and intensity of a dust storm can be a fatal surprise,” says Doug Zanes, head of fast-expanding personal injury firm Zanes Law. “In our experience, it is most often the driver who’s killed in dust storms, not the front-seat passenger as with other accidents.”
The main danger of dust storms is limited or zero visibility, sometimes in a matter of seconds. This makes it difficult for even skilled drivers to stay in their lane, or to see other vehicles. Here are Zanes’ tips when dust storms occur:
- Anytime there is a change in the weather, immediately cut down in-car distractions (loud music, conversation, snacking and especially texting).
- Check traffic all around your vehicle (front, back and to the side) and begin slowing down.
- Pull over as soon as possible – but go beyond the travel or emergency lane to a space that is completely off the paved road.
- Turn off all lights, including your emergency flashers. Drivers behind you may think these are lights from a moving vehicle.
- Set your emergency brake and take your foot off the brake.
- Stay in your car with seatbelts on (in case you’re hit) and wait for the storm to pass.
- Trucks and other high-profile vehicles are especially vulnerable. Slow down, and remember that storms can blow out traffic lights and other signals, adding to the danger.
- If you come to an intersection without a signal, treat it as having stop signs in all directions.
What if the unthinkable happens, despite all of your precautions? Then you should follow Zanes Law’s Hit List of six essential steps right after an accident:
- Call 911 immediately.
- Obtain a police report number.
- Exchange name, address, license plate number, and insurance information with the other driver.
- Take pictures of the accident damage.
- Seek medical treatment, even if you don’t think you need it at the time.
- Contact a personal injury lawyer to discuss your options.
“No one wants to think about being in an accident, but it’s a reality,” says Zanes. “One thing you can do now is download the free mobile app and info sheet from our website, ZanesLaw.com, and keep them where you can quickly find them. This way, even in the confusion of an accident, you can store the information you need for your claim.”
With offices in Tucson and Phoenix, Zanes Law provides its clients with a combined 60 years’ experience with Arizona personal injury law. Consultation is free, and Spanish-speaking representation is available.
ABOUT ZANES LAW
Zanes Law is an 11-year personal injury law firm in Southern Arizona, with a large practice in motor vehicle accidents and workers’ compensation. Founded in 2003, the firm is led by Doug Zanes, CEO/Responsible Attorney, and Claudia Zanes, Director of Business & Marketing (Non-Attorney). Its attorneys have more than 60 years of combined experience in personal injury law. Zanes Law has three offices in Tucson and two in Phoenix, and prides itself on strong community involvement. More information is available by calling (888) 894-0135 or visiting ZanesLaw.com.