How to Drive Safely when a Sandstorm Occurs
For anybody who has lived some part of the life in the middle east, sandstorms wouldn’t be a new occurrence. Sand storms are synonymous with the deserts and hence, a part of the life.
A sandstorm occurs due to high-speed winds lifting sand particles and dirt being lifted into the air; this forms a cloud of sand and dust that travels with the winds and lead to near-zero visibility no matter where it heads to. A sandstorm is not to be taken likely as it is as unpredictable as it is lethal. It’s damage causing abilities are potent and can cause severe damage to properties, apart from injuries and deaths. This is why it is important to take proper steps to stay safe.
If you are driving and a storm starts brewing at a distance; these are a few steps you should take to ensure safety:
Beat the Storm(Speed up)
One of the best ways to deal with the sand storm is to speed up. Soon as a sand storm is visible at a distance building up slowly, in the rear view mirror or elsewhere, the best way to avoid the sandstorm and handle the situation is to outrun the sand storm. As soon as you catch a sand storm building up at a distance, or even see it in the rearview mirror rushing at you, your best bet is to outrun it.
Although out driving a sandstorm is not necessarily an easy task, as the sandstorms can boast speeds of up to 120 km/h which is quite high. To outrun the sandstorm, careful driving while keeping a sane mind will be necessary. It is important to drive in a manner that doesn’t endanger you or any other driver. That would make the situation worse for you or someone else. Try not to panic in such situation as it will help you drive better.
Take a detour to move in a direction opposite to the storm; so you can move away from the storm.
Stop the Car and Allow the Storm to Pass
It is not advisable to try and beat the storm if it is moving in your direction at high speeds. If you haven’t had a headstart yet, then let it be and just pull over.
Pulling over and allowing the storm to pass will be beneficial; since once the sandstorm is upon you, the visibility will reduce to zero in just a few seconds. It is a bad move to try and drive through a storm because of high-speed winds and zero visibility.
For taking shelter, look for a tall building or a cluster of trees and wait. It will provide you with some protection from the storm. Make sure your headlights and hazard lights, both are turned on at such times while looking for a spot to park. But turn off the lights after you have found a parking spot; this is because any vehicle behind you might be disillusioned by the zero visibility and collide into your vehicle.
In the Middle East, spontaneous sand storms are common and should not be taken lightly. Before heading out for a long drive on a highway, especially those are around desert terrains, check the weather on Tv/web/radio, to check if any sandstorm warnings have been issued for the time and advance warnings.
If the reports suggest that there is an impending storm in the region where you have to drive, pay heed to the warning and wait till the storm has passed.
The best thing to do is to stay risk-free and let the storm pass before setting out; to avoid any unforeseen emergencies or mishaps.
Know How to Handle Emergencies and Mishaps
Just in case if you miss the broadcasts or are in your way before the sandstorm emerges, it is advisable to keep a sand storm kit handy. A sand storm safety kit includes the necessities such as air-tight goggles, mask, a flashlight, and so on.
These equipments will keep you prepared for any and all situations related to sandstorm.
For heading out on a road trip, there is a list of items you should carry bearing in mind the diverse weather pattern of the UAE, and you can read and get to know about it here.
Driving safe should be the primary objective since it will help you ensure that your car and you both safely avoid the storm’s might.
In case your battery runs out, and you need to jump start it, read about How to Jump Start Your Car?