Haboob: (n) a violent and oppressive wind blowing in summer, bringing sand from the desert.
Driving a truck across the United States for a living can be an adventurous lifestyle. Truck drivers are subjected to various ways of living- drivers get to see the gorgeous views every state has to offer and they get to experience the unique weather in each state. While driving through Arizona during the months May through September, truck drivers see the massive monsoon storms that roll across the desert. Arizona monsoons are not the typical thunderstorm; a monsoon brings hail, lightning, and the famous haboob.
If you’re the unfortunate truck driver that gets stuck in a haboob storm; stay calm and follow these four survival strategies for haboob safety:
Haboob safety tip #1: Reduce your speed, pull aside and wait it out!
Haboobs are not like a flash flood of dust, dirt and gravel. All drivers on highways and side streets are able to see a haboob storm headed toward their way and give them enough time to pull over. If you’re driving on the highway, we suggest you pull over as far as possible, exit the highway if you can. Be sure to turn off all your lights so no other cars try to follow you, and ultimately run into you. Those who try to speed up and beat the haboob in their minivan won’t make it and will have to make an emergency stop wherever they can. Haboobs reduce visibility to nothing so be extremely careful of others around you.
Haboob safety tip #2: Keep your radio on for updates!
Once you’re pulled off the road with your lights off, it’s important to listen to the news and stay updated on the conditions of the roads. Accidents will more than likely occur which can cause traffic and closed roads. You will also want to make sure that once there is a break in the storm, it’s done for good and there’s not another gust behind it.
Haboob safety tip #3: Do not exit your vehicle!
Do not exit your vehicle to seek shelter. Your vehicle is your shelter, so sit tight and keep your seatbelt on the entire time. Be sure your windows are closed tightly, your air conditioning is off and the vents are shut.
Haboob safety tip #4: After a haboob, be cautious!
Before you re-enter the road or highway, make sure you have at least a 300-feet visibility of the road. As you re-enter, watch behind you and in front of you for other vehicles trying to get back on the road too.
It is important that you, as a truck driver, follow all haboob safety measures before, during and after a haboob storm. Just because vehicles around you have Arizona license plates, does not mean they know what to do in this situation. Most drivers on the road are not any more experienced or prepared to drive in a storm than you are. Haboob safety is serious business for Arizonans in the summer time, arrive prepared!