Fire officials urge drivers to take precaution during high winds

YUMA Ariz. – The Yuma Fire Department is reminding everyone to take added precautions on the roads during windy conditions.

Gusty winds mean debris in the roads and higher chances of downed power lines, according to Yuma Fire Department’s Mike Erfert.

“Always treat those lines as power lines. Encountering one that you think is a cable of some sort could be a fatal mistake,” Erfert says.

Power outages can put traffic lights out of service. Erfert explained the right way drivers should handle those situations. “If you come upon an intersection that the power is out, treat it like a 4 way stop. It’s not just a good idea; it’s the law.”

He says added traffic during winter months makes it even more important to leave extra space between you and the car in front of you. Just last week, firefighters responded to four separate pile ups.

“That usually tells us people are driving too close,” Erfert added.

If you begin to feel wind pushing your vehicle, keep both hands on the wheel, slow down, and never stop on a bridge, where gusts can be the strongest.

Erfert added, “If there would be dust involved, and visibility becomes a problem, they say pull aside and stay alive.”

The national weather service reported gusts reached 28 miles per hour on Wednesday.

About The Author

Eduardo Santiago joined the FOX 9 and ABC 5 news team in February, 2012. That’s the same year KECY launched its very first local newscast. He has been covering local news in Yuma and the Imperial Valley since his start as a KYMA photojournalist in 2006. During his decade in broadcasting, Eduardo has covered some of the biggest stories in the Desert Southwest – from President Bush’s visit to Yuma, Ariz. to the uncovering of drug tunnels that span the US-Mexico border. One of the most memorable stories Eduardo covered was the 2010 Easter Earthquake that rocked the Imperial Valley, Mexicali, and Yuma. Eduardo, along with his news team, won an award from the Associated Press for best coverage of an ongoing story following the quake. Before he made his move to TV, Eduardo was just a kid born in East Los Angeles, where he spent his early childhood. His parents moved him to Mexicali, B.C. Mexico, where he did most of his elementary school education. He finally landed in El Centro, where he graduated from Central Union High School in 2005. Eduardo is currently a student at Imperial Valley College. You can find Eduardo hanging out in the Imperial Valley and Yuma with his family on any given weekend. His off-screen passion is playing guitar and sports.

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