Q:

How do you protect yourself in a sandstorm?

A:

If you get caught on foot in a sandstorm, put on a pair of goggles or sunglasses if available. It is impossible to navigate, so mark the direction in which you are traveling and lie down, preferably behind a rock or some other obstruction. Wrap a piece of cloth over your mouth and face, or pull your shirt over your head. Drivers should pull off the road.

If water is available, moisten the shirt or cloth you use to cover your face. It is important to protect your eyes, nose and mouth from the sand. Sand in the respiratory system causes silicosis which leads to asphyxiation or possibly lung cancer. Untreated keratoconjunctivitis sicca, or dry eyes, from sand storms can cause blindness. If you are caught in an area where no shelter is available, Lie down opposite the direction of the wind with your stomach and face towards the ground.

Driving is hazardous in a dust storm, so pull your vehicle as far off the road as possible. Turn off the lights, set the emergency brake, and take your foot off the brake pedal. If you leave your lights on, drivers in cars behind you may think you are still driving and collide with your car. If you cannot pull off the road, leave your lights on, slow down, honk your horn occasionally, use the center line for navigation, and look for a place to pull over.


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