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Arizona launches safety campaign for drivers during monsoon season

PHOENIX — A new safety campaign will remind Arizona drivers stuck in dust storms to pull over, turn off all car lights and wait until visibility is back before hitting the road again.

The “pull aside, stay alive” campaign aims to keep drivers off the road during the dust storms that the monsoon season brings.

The Arizona Department of Transportation is airing 30-second public service announcements in both English and Spanish throughout the monsoon season, which begins June 15.

Monsoons can cause sudden downpours and thick dust storms that can reduce or eliminate visibility.

Gov. Doug Ducey said in a statement Monday to “take a break from driving” if drivers encounter a dust storm.

“Make the safe and smart decision to delay your travel plans and wait for the storm to pass,” he added.

The Arizona Department of Transportation said it was important to turn off headlights and brake lights when pulled over during a storm.

Taking those actions allows drivers to wait out the storm in a less dangerous place while confusing other drivers who may believe your car is moving.

Sgt. Vince Lewis, a spokesman with the Phoenix Police Department, told KTAR News 92.3 FM that drivers should not take any chances if they encounter water on the roadway as well.

“Know your area well enough to find alternate routes around that,” Lewis said. “Never try to cross a flooded wash.”

And if you do try to cross a flooded area and have to get rescued because your car gets stuck, you could end up paying the price — literally: Arizona’s Stupid Motorist Law allows the state to charge drivers if they become stranded after driving around barricades to enter a flooded part of the road.

KTAR News 92.3’s Kathy Cline and The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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