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More dust storm safety warnings come after deadly I-10 crash

Posted at 5:10 PM, Jun 27, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-27 20:39:03-04

After six people died in a 20-vehicle chain-reaction crash on Interstate 10 near Lordsburg, New Mexico, last week, Arizona public safety officials are ramping up warnings for drivers.

ADOT statistics show I-10 between phoenix and Tucson, north of Picacho and south of Eloy are most dangerous during dust storms in the state.

“It does get really bad at times but it’s usually for distances of maybe hundreds of yards,” said Phoenix-based truck driver Joe Connaughton whose route passes through this area almost daily.

Even though the storms vary in intensity they're consistently dangerous: In the past 5 years- roughly half of all dust related crashes happened in this 10 mile stretch.

State Trooper Erik Auchincloss says powering through a storm can be the wrong decision. The Department of Public Safety recommends during a dust storm drivers exit the freeway or highway and wait for it to pass, if that isn’t possible to pull over, engage the parking brake, and keep their foot of the brake pedal, “So nobody else hones in on the lights on their vehicle thinking they're still on the road.”

Even Connaughton, who drives on a deadline, says pulling over is the safest decision, “If you pull over and wait for it you won’t wait for a long time.”