Dust storms are low-occurrence but high risk weather events. Their main danger to commercial or owner operator trucks is sudden visibility loss. Unlike fog, which has a fairly consistent visibility distance, the visibility in a dust storm can change from minute to minute. A quarter-mile visibility can suddenly drop to zero. When vehicles attempt to drive through dust by following the tail lights of the vehicles ahead, a sudden visibility drop can trigger a deadly pileup accident.
The necessary ingredients for a dust storm are dry soil and strong winds. Both of these ingredients are common enough in the plains states and in Texas, especially in its western and central areas. As providers of commercial or owner operator truck insurance in Texas, we recommend these safety tips when a dust storm approaches:
- Don’t attempt to drive through. It’s easy to go against your better judgment when you see traffic continuing on at a high speed through a dust storm. However, motorists who give in to the herd instinct can become victims of a pileup accident.
- Get off the road at the first sign of a dust storm. The only safe way to ride out these storms is parking your commercial or owner operator truck off the highway. While the visibility is still good, get off at an exit and find a safe place to park your rig. Don’t wait until you can’t see.
- Never stop in traffic lanes or emergency lanes. Motorists traveling too fast for the conditions will rear-end you. Even the breakdown lane may not be safe because bad visibility may cause motorists to mistake it for a travel lane.
- Turn off all your lights. When parking near a roadway, turn off all lights including flashers. Use your parking brake and keep your foot off the brake pedal because this will light up your brake lights. Lights of any kind may cause motorists to drive off the road and possibly into you because they are using your lights as a guide.
Finally, keep your seat belt on and wait out the storm. The amount of time stopped will have a minimal impact on your schedule. Don’t risk an accident. If you have any questions about commercial or owner operator truck insurance in Texas, don’t hesitate to contact us.