Road Trip: Arizona and Vicious Dust Storms

We continued the Latino Heritage Roadtrip towards Arizona as soon as we finished our trip to San Diego Old Town & Old Point Loma Light House.  It was a very long day on the road, approximately 409 miles.  Not many scenic stops, routes or historical sites on our trip towards Scottsdale, Arizona.  However, the landscape was beautiful.


After a short nap, I woke up and noticed gloom in the sky and a very dark cloud in the horizon. I asked my husband what that was — it looks like a huge cloud of rain. However, at that exact moment I noticed it was far away from us. It looked like we were going in the opposite direction of the huge dark cloud. However, within a couple of minutes it looked like we were headed straight into it.


The dust storm was incredibly strong and the winds were powerful. There were moments when we had zero visibility, but we got us through it safely, in part because of the vehicle we were driving, GMC Terrain.  We felt very safe in the crossover.

According to the Arizona Department of Transportation, here are the steps to safely handle dust storms:

  • Avoid driving into or through a dust storm
  • Do not wait until poor visibility makes it difficult to safely pull off the roadway —do it as soon as possible. Completely exit the highway if you can.
  • If you encounter a dust storm, check traffic immediately around your vehicle (front, back and to the side) and begin slowing down.
  • Do not stop in a travel lane or in the emergency lane; look for a safe place to pull completely off the paved portion of the roadway.
  • Stop the vehicle in a position ensuring it is a safe distance from the main roadway and away from where other vehicles may travel.
  • Turn off all vehicle lights, including your emergency flashers.
  • Set your emergency brake and take your foot off the brake.
  • Stay in the vehicle with your seatbelts buckled and wait for the storm to pass.
  • Drivers of high-profile vehicles should be especially aware of changing weather conditions and travel at reduced speeds.
  • A driver’s alertness and safe driving ability is still the number one factor to prevent crashes.

The Latino Heritage Roadtrip aims to document  the his­tory of the nation through four regional road trips span­ning thou­sands of miles in the north­east, south­east, south­west and mid­west. The American Latino Fund celebrates the contributions of American Latinos throughout the national park and historic places across the country.  Check to learn more about the programs and Support the American Latino Heritage Fund.


Please join me and my fellow road trip colleagues as we go on an adventure of a lifetime.  For live tweets, please follow the conversation on Twitter by checking the #LatinoHeritage hashtag.  Please check back later for additional photos.

The vehi­cle being dri­ven on this road trip is pro­vided by Gen­eral Motors. Please fol­low @GM_diversity on Twitter.

Question:  Have you ever encountered severe weather conditions on a roadtrip?  How did you handle it?  What additional tips would you provide for handling severe weather?


Eva Smith

Publisher at Tech Life Magazine
Eva is an award winning entrepreneur and Publisher of Tech Life Magazine. She has been recognized by Ford Motor Company as a Mujer Legendaria Inteligente (Smart Entrepreneur), USA Today Magazine as a Top Blogger to Watch and Latina Magazine as a Top 25 Latinas Who Shine in Technology. Her work has also been featured on Mashable,, Babble, Baby Center,, USA Today, Latina Magazine, Huffington Post, National Parks Services, Voxxi, NBC Latino, Rolling Stone Magazine & more.She is technologist, engineer, bilingual freelance writer, speaker and digital media consultant.


  1. I’ve been in quite a few dust storms and it’s very scary. The last time we drove down to Tucson it was Christmas and the storm was so bad you couldn’t see. We had to go a different route because there was a horribel accident in front of us because the visibility was so bad. You never get used to it.

    I’m excited to keep reading about your travel adventures! What a great trip.

  2. Horrible (missed spell check)

  3. Never been through a dust/sand storm! How scarey!

    I did get used to driving in nasty snow storms in -50 degree weather when we lived in Canada though! Had to use the 4 wheel drive just to get up the driveway sometimes (and we lived in a normal suburban neighborhood!)

  4. I’m such an East Coast girl. I’d freak out in a dust storm! Mother Nature is mighty and beautiful (and pretty scary). These tips are fantastic because I’d have no idea how to keep my family safe in a dust storm!

  5. Ack! Glad you’re okay! Scary!

  6. Oh my goodness, I would have taken cover! I’ve been in a sand storm on Miami Beach and it totally freaked me out! 🙂 And, getting bought in a hail storm is no fun at all! Imagine that. Glad you were all safe. Your trip has sounded so amazing and engaging. Fortunately, you’re in car that can survive the weather!

  7. Wow! Those pictures are amazing!

  8. Eva! That sounds so frightening! I have friends that live in Arizona and have they have been taking pictures and posting them on FB and it looks terrifying. Glad that you are ok and that you were in a safe vehicle. Love reading all your updates!

  9. wow.. This trip sounds super cool! I can’t wait to read about all your adventures!
    I hope you have a great time and stay safe! 😉


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