Brock Law Offices

Dust storms and trucking accidents: How to avoid them

Truckers face a unique challenge when driving through Nebraska and other plains states: dust storms. While they don't occur frequently, dust storms can be incredibly dangerous, and even deadly. When high winds combine with loose, dry topsoil, dust storms can literally black out the sky. Visibility often drops to zero, dust can choke your engine, and other drivers become disoriented and veer into oncoming traffic or off the road entirely. Pile ups are especially common and can ensnare dozens of vehicles. If you see a dust storm approaching, here's what you need to do. 

Avoid The Dust Storm If Possible

The best way to encounter a dust storm is not to encounter it at all. Don't follow other drivers who cavalierly plunge into the storm. Exit the highway and take an alternate route. This is the simplest way to avoid a trucking accident.

Get Off The Road -- Completely

If you can't avoid the storm, which is sometimes the case on long stretches of interstate, the best thing you can do is to pull off the road surface at your earliest opportunity. Do this before the storm reaches you. If you can, pull onto an unpaved surface and give a wide berth to the road, since other drivers will quickly lose track of their lanes and may drive in the emergency lane.

Turn Off All Your Lights

Once you're safely parked, turn off all your lights, even your emergency flashers. Dust storms are unique in this respect. As visibility plummets, other drivers will be searching for anything to orient themselves, and you don't want them following your lights off the road.

Keep Your Seatbelt On

Being rear-ended is a real danger in dust storms, so keep your seatbelt buckled while you're waiting it out. High winds also put truckers at risk, since the high profile of the trailer make you susceptible to tipping. In both cases, you'll want to be sure that your seatbelt is there to protect you.

Keep Your Engine Running

If you turn your engine off during a dust storm, you may not be able to turn it back on again. Dust can quickly choke valves and freeze mechanisms, so the best way to ensure you can navigate back out of the storm is to keep your engine at a low idle.

Long haul truckers drive through every weather condition imaginable: rain, sleet, snow, ice, wind, hail and others. However, dust storms pose unique challenges. As long as you don't underestimate them, you and your rig will have many more miles in front of you.

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Brock Law Offices PC LLO

Brock Law Offices
5625 O Street, Suite 109
Lincoln, NE 68510

Toll Free: 800-420-3303
Phone: 402-327-1777
Phone: 402-467-3303
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