ANTELOPE VALLEY – Two people sustained injuries and were transported to local hospitals Monday morning, after a dust storm triggered several collisions on the Antelope Valley (14) Freeway, authorities said.
The crashes happened around 7:51 a.m. Monday on the southbound 14 Freeway in the vicinity of Avenue B, according to a California Highway Patrol report. There were nine separate traffic collisions involving 16 vehicles reported in that area alone.
At the time of the traffic collisions, visibility had been reduced to zero due to a dust storm, the CHP report states.
One person sustained lacerations as a result of the collisions and another person complained of pain to his neck and back. Both parties were transported to Antelope Valley Hospital.
Speed was determined to be a factor in the traffic collisions, because of the high winds and the low visibility, the CHP report states.
The traffic collisions are still under investigation.
Dust Storm Safety Tips
Dust storms usually last only a few minutes, but the actions a motorist takes during the storm may be the most important of his or her life. The National Weather Service recommends the following dust storm safety tips.
Pull aside. If dense dust is observed blowing across or approaching a roadway, pull your vehicle off the pavement as far as possible. Stop, turn off your lights, set the emergency brake and take your foot off the brake pedal to be sure the tail lights are not illuminated. Don’t enter the dust storm area if you can avoid it.
Lights out. In the past, motorists driving in dust storms have pulled off the roadway, leaving their lights on. Vehicles approaching from the rear and using the advance car’s lights as a guide have inadvertently left the roadway and in some instances collided with the parked vehicle. Make sure all of your lights are off when you park off the roadway.
If you can’t pull off the roadway. Proceed at a speed suitable for visibility, turn on your lights and sound your horn occasionally. Use the painted center line to help guide you, and continue to look for a safe place to pull off the roadway. Never stop on the traveled portion of the roadway.
UPDATED @3 pm:
The Antelope Valley (14) Freeway is currently closed in both directions, from Avenue G to the Kern County line (Avenue A), due to high winds and the dust storm. The roadway has been closed all day and traffic is being diverted.