It’s monsoon season in Arizona. Time for some intense storms to break up the monotony of the blast furnace heat day after day for months on end. Because we don’t get storms year-round like folks do in much of the rest of the country, it can be easy to forget some basic tips and techniques for navigating through potentially dangerous conditions. Here are a few reminders.

First, especially for you recent transplants to the Valley, the Monsoon is unique. A couple of the Badgers moved here long ago from the Midwest, where the weather simply doesn’t behave quite like this. Monsoon storms are often preceded by huge dust storms –massive walls of dust called “haboobs.”

These can reduce visibility to just a few feet. But they typically pass within a few minutes. The rain can be very heavy – literally gulley washers. Unlike the deep soil back east, here the ground is rocky. The rainwater runs off wherever it can go, including into the streets and freeways, creating quite a bit of localized flooding. The storms are accompanied by high winds, lightning and thunder. And they are unpredictable and random.

Our hearts go out to the meteorologists who do their best to alert the public to these storms. But they often seem to just pop out of nowhere, and while one part of the Valley might get hammered, other parts remain untouched. And here’s a new one for you recent Midwesterners – these storms typically move in from the east or the south. Back in the Midwest, bad weather moves in from the west or southwest – never from the east.

Second, if a dust storm is in progress or you see one approaching, it’s best not to drive in it at all. If you are driving when a dust storm overtakes you, pull off on the right side of the road as far as you can, and shut off your lights (and don’t touch the brakes). Yes, we said that right. Visibility is very bad. Other drivers travelling the same direction as you may think your car is moving and try to follow you if they see the lights. Instead, they will hit you from behind.

Third, slow down. Because it doesn’t rain that often in the Valley, oil tends to accumulate on the pavement. When you add in the dust that probably just got deposited there, the rain will make the pavement slippery. Don’t slam on your brakes, or you may go sliding uncontrollably.

Fourth, don’t drive though flooded areas, and especially through running floodwater. The streets can flood very quickly, and you don’t know how deep the water is. It only takes about six inches of water for you to lose control of your car. In about two feet of running floodwater, your car can be swept away.

Fifth, when driving through rain, as opposed to a dust storm, keep your lights on to make it easier for other to see you. If the rain is so heavy that visibility is severely reduced, then we would recommend that you pull off to the right as far as you can get. Stop. Turn off the lights, and wait for the rain to let up a bit so you can see.

From a mechanical standpoint, you want to make sure your tires are properly inflated and that you still have enough tread before the Monsoon begins. Also check those windshield wipers. It’s no fun to watch them fall apart in the middle of a rainstorm when you’re driving down the road.

If you do get into a wreck with another vehicle during a storm, and you believe the other driver was not driving safely, give Law Badgers a call at 1.833.383.4448 (833 DTF IGHT) or email us at We are experienced  trial lawyers here to help. Down to fight for you!

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