Phoenix– Westbound Interstate 10 is closed this afternoon following multiple crashes in the Picacho Peak area, according to the Arizona Department of Transportation.
The left two lanes of eastbound I-10 also is closed.
The crashes, which caused at least one fatality, are believed to be related to blowing dust. They occurred between milepost 214 and 216.
There is no indication when the freeway will reopen.
Drivers are advised to stay alert because strong winds can result in sudden periods of limited or zero visibility due to blowing dust, especially in desert areas. Motorists play an important role in safety when operating their vehicles during a dust storm.
ADOT and the Arizona Department of Public Safety recommend the following driving tips when encountering a low-visibility dust storm:
• Avoid driving into or through a dust storm.
• If you encounter a dust storm, check traffic immediately around your vehicle (front, back and to the side) and begin slowing down.
• 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, away from where other vehicles may travel.
• 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.
• 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.
• Be alert that any storm can cause power outages to overhead roadway lighting and traffic signals. Drive with caution and treat all intersections without signals as having stop signs in all directions.