With the start of the new year and Winter winds blowing, the snow birds have arrived in Arizona. While these visitors are welcome, the increase in traffic can cause an increase in accidents and insurance claims. Insurance agents would like to offer some safe driving tips for natives and for those who are visiting the state.
Before you get behind the wheel make sure that all of your tires are inflated properly. A low tire could indicate a problem that will make it more difficult to drive, or even cause an accident. Always use your safety belt. This will help reduce injuries for you and your passengers if you do get involved in an accident. If you are driving a rental car, make sure you know where everything is before you start driving. This includes lights, wipers, radio, air conditioning, and mirror controls. Adjust all of the mirrors to ensure you can see clearly.
Double check the dashboard for any warning lights. Proper maintenance on a vehicle will not only improve performance, but improper maintenance can impact insurance claims. Once you are comfortable and everyone is buckled up, you are ready to go.
Of course be sure to follow all traffic signs and obey all traffic laws. These laws are for everyone and help keep us all safe.
Dust Storms and Monsoons
Arizona is in a desert that is subject to frequent dust storms. The high winds sweeping across the dry desert can blow dust onto highways and reduce visibility. Visitors from the north may be familiar with blizzard conditions where blowing snow reduces visibility. Dust storms are much the same, though they don’t make the road slippery. If you are caught in a dust storm turn on your lights and reduce speed accordingly or pull over to the side if the storm is severe. If you decide to pull off the road, be sure to get as far over to the right as possible.
Deserts are not the first environment where people expect floods, but they do happen in Arizona. These flash floods can cover roads with a torrent of water that is dangerous to cross. Areas where floods are common will have signs that say, “do not cross when flooded”. These signs are there for your safety, so find another way to get where you are going.
Don’t cross washes that have swollen with recent rain. There is no way to predict if another rain will send a sudden flash flood down the wash. These flash floods are strong enough to wash away even a large vehicle.
Night Time Driving
Statistically speaking, night time is the most hazardous time to drive in Arizona, according to the Arizona Department of Public Safety. It is important to be particularly cautious when driving after dark. Here are some quick tips to help:
- Slow down so you are driving within your vehicle’s headlights.
- Dim your headlights if you are following another driver.
- Keep your headlights clean.
- Go slow on curves.
- Avoid using light inside your car while driving.
- Do not drive if you are tired.
- Obey the speed limit (55 mph on federal highways, 65 mph on rural interstates).
Driving safely and following all applicable laws will help avoid costly and dangerous accidents for you and your family.