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A Haboob Is Coming! How Can I Prepare?

dust storm "haboob" weatherDuring the summer, you may tune into a local Arizona news station and hear about how haboobs are coming. This begs the question, “What is a haboob?” It is a severe dust storm that is typically characterized as being a huge wall of dust and dirt that blows through an area. Haboobs are particularly prevalent in the Saharan desert, but they also occur naturally in the southwestern United States.

Obviously, when a huge Arizona dust storm is on the horizon, you want to stay indoors so that you are not breathing in large quantities of dust. However, what about your vehicle? These storms can range in severity, but no matter how big they get, they pose a threat to everyone’s cars. Prepare accordingly and make sure you and your vehicle remain safe during the next haboob.

Avoid Driving If Possible

You now have an answer to the question, “What is a haboob?” It is paramount you understand how bad it can get. In some instances, the wall of dust is so severe that your visibility will be limited to a few feet in front of you. It is a lot more severe than simply fog, and you may not be able to see cars in front of you with your headlights.

If you are home when a haboob starts, then you want to stay there. However, if you are already on the road when a haboob forms, then you want to pull off to the side of the road until it is safe to drive again. Pull off completely to the side of the road so that you are not blocking roadways, and take your foot off of the brake. It is possible other vehicles will not be able to see you either.

To ensure you do not breathe in any debris from the Arizona dust storm, you will want to make sure your doors are closed shut and your windows are rolled all the way up. Air vents should be closed off too so that dust cannot make its way inside your car. Wait there until the storm has passed.

Keep Important Items Inside Your Car

You may be off to the side of the road for a few minutes or an hour until you get sufficient visibility again. Therefore, it is crucial you keep certain items in your car. A first aid kit should always be inside. You will also want to keep a couple bottles of water in your vehicle in case you are stuck for a while. You do not want to get dehydrated. Additionally, water can help you clear off your windshield once the dust storm has passed. Finally, it can be good to have a blanket. You may be stuck for a while, so it may be best to simply get some rest.

Inspect Your Vehicle Before Driving Again

Once the haboob passes, you will not want to start your car immediately. You should step outside and check under the hood to make sure no dust got inside. It can be good to keep a dust brush inside your vehicle as well so you can remove debris from your vehicle’s exterior. You do not want the debris interfering with the proper function of your automobile.

Avoid Downed Power Lines

One dangerous aspect of haboobs is their potential to knock down power lines. If you see one near you, then you want to stay away from it at all costs. Do not attempt to move it yourself even if it is in the roadway. Instead, you should contact the proper authorities and inform them that a power line is down. Do not drive over the lines, and simply go about your way home.

Hopefully, you never end up being trapped inside your car during a haboob. You should now have a firm answer to the question, “What is a haboob?” While they are rather rare, it is important to understand what you need to do to stay safe in the event one should occur. After an Arizona dust storm, you may want to take your car to a professional to make sure nothing was damaged.