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Instructors warn students about dangerous stretch of highway near Lordsburg

Instructors warn students about...

EL PASO, Texas - Mesilla Valley Trucking instructor Mike Williams started his lesson Tuesday by discussing the deadly crash on I-10 near Lordsburg with his students.

Wallace said the tragic situation can serve as a learning experience for his students and also as a reminder road conditions can change at any moment.

"As you start getting closer to the area that they are saying could be affected, you start paying attention to weather patterns. You look at the clouds, look at the dust, and then you make a decision," Williams said. "It is a call that you have to make, as a professional driver. You have to know what your limits are."

New Mexico State Police said low visibility from a dust storm was to blame for the 25-car pileup that left six people dead, and several more injured.

"It gets bad, especially, the sandstorms. You can't see anything at all," truck driver Carlos Campos said. "If you see it from afar, don't drive through it. Pull over to the side or the nearest truck stop."

"Slowdown but do not slow down too much because you can become a hazard to other drivers," trucking instructor Guadalupe Gonzalez said. "We have to find an exit as quick as possible, get off the road and make a safe spot."

However, if conditions change suddenly, and you're not able to exit the highway, instructors said the best thing to do is to pull over to the side of the road and turn your hazard lights on.

The advice of instructors differs from that of the Arizona and New Mexico departments of transportation. Both say drivers should pull over to the side of the road and turn off the vehicle's lights. Doing so, will keep other drivers from driving into you.

Semi truck drivers carry CB radios with them, and there's a specific channel where truckers can communicate with one another about poor road conditions.

"Usually law enforcement monitors that channel so in case of an accident or emergency, just like the one that occurred, I'm sure somebody got on that channel and asked for help," Williams said. "It's our job to look out for other drivers out there."


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