Tuesday, April 29, 2014

KDOT offers tips to drive through dust storms and blowing smoke

With recent road closures because of dust storms in northwest Kansas, the Kansas Department of Transportation would like to remind drivers of simple tips when driving into or through dust storms.

Drivers are urged to stay alert because strong winds can result in sudden periods of limited or zero visibility due to blowing dust and or smoke during burning season.

The following driving tips are recommended when encountering a low-visibility dust storm or smoky conditions with the understanding that driver judgment is the most important factor when driving in adverse conditions:

• Avoid driving into or through a dust storm if possible.

• While driving through dust and smoke make sure to have your headlights on.

• Do not wait until poor visibility makes it difficult to safely pull off the roadway -- do it as soon as possible. Completely exit the highway if you can.

• Do not stop in a travel lane; look for a safe place to pull completely off the paved portion of the roadway.

• Stop the vehicle in a position ensuring it is a safe distance from the main roadway and away from other vehicles.

• Turn off all vehicle lights, including your emergency flashers, while parked.

• Set your emergency brake and take your foot off the brake pedal.

• Stay in the vehicle with your seatbelt buckled and wait for the storm to pass.

• Drivers of high-profile vehicles should be especially aware of changing weather conditions and travel at reduced speeds.

• A driver's alertness and safe driving ability is still the number one factor to prevent crashes.

For up to date road closures and road conditions, please call 511 in Kansas (1-866-511-KDOT (5368) outside the state), or check travel information online at: www.kandrive.org or visit http://511mm.ksdot.org.

If you are involved in a crash on a Kansas highway and have a cellular phone dial *47 (*HP) for a highway patrol dispatcher or dial 911.