Cars How to Drive in a Sand Storm?

How to Drive in a Sand Storm?

Living in Arab, sand storms aren’t anything new to you. A sand storm occurs when high speed winds lift dirt and sand particles into the air, forming a cloud which travels with the winds and causes near-zero visibility where it heads to. Being one of the most lethal and unpredictable natural phenomena, it can cause severe damage to property, injuries, and even deaths if proper steps aren’t taken to stay safe.


If you’re driving and see a storm coming from a distance, there are a few steps you can immediately take to keep yourself safe. Let’s discuss them:

Beat the Storm

As soon as you catch a sand storm building up at a distance, or even see it in the rear view mirror rushing at you, your best bet is to outrun it. However, this is easier said than done. Sandstorms can attain horrifying speeds of up to 75mph, and you will really need to keep your wits about you if you plan to outrun one of them. Never panic; it will only make things worse. Try and take a detour that would take you in the opposite direction and away from the storm.

Stop the Car and Wait

Trying to beat the storm is not advisable if it’s particularly moving fast and reaches you just as you begin to make up your mind about trying to beat it. In this case, it is best to pull over and wait till it passes. Once the storm is upon you, it will reduce the visibility to zero in a matter of few seconds, which is why you’ll be ill-advised to drive through it. Take shelter in a relatively safer place, like where there’s a cluster of trees or simply at the base of a tall building, and wait till the storm passes. As you’ve decided to pull over, make sure your hazard lights and headlights are ON while you find a safe spot to park and wait the storm out. Once you’re in the spot, turn your headlights off. If you don’t, a pursuing vehicle may tend to follow your lead, thinking you’ve merely slowed down, and collide right into your vehicle.

Plan Ahead

In the Arab states, spontaneous sand storms are way too common to be taken lightly. Whenever you’re planning to take a long drive on a highway, especially one that takes you outside your city into desert terrain, pay heed to the sand storm warnings on television, web and radio broadcasts. If there is an imminent storm in the area you plan to go, wait it out at home. The best thing to do is to stay risk-free and let the storm pass before setting out to avoid any unforeseen emergencies.

Prepare for any Unforeseen Emergencies

Just in case you missed the broadcasts before setting out and get caught in a sand storm, it’s advisable to take a “sand storm safety kit” with you en route. The kit must include basic necessities like a mask, and air-tight goggles – in case you have to get out of your car for any reason- a flashlight, water supply and a blanket to keep warm in case you’re travelling during the winter. In case you have to stay put longer than you anticipated, a kit like this can really come in handy.