(Last Updated On: January 9, 2013)

As the name suggests, sandstorms are massive heavy winds blowing with a high force, throwing huge amounts of sand particles into the air making it difficult to see, move or even breathe. Most often than not, people encounter sandstorms when on dune bashing sprees.

Once you are stranded in a sandstorm it is too late to try and escape from it. Your sense of direction is completely turned over due to almost nil visibility and the sand lashing at your bare skin; as a result you may feel a sense of disorientation. To make matters worse, if you cannot cover your mouth on time properly, the sand will pour down your throat and into your lungs, suffocating you.
Sandstorms are unpredictable and you cannot prevent them, but with relevant tips on precaution, you can be well prepared to face them bravely. If you are someone looking for a desert safari, sand bashing or even a bungee jumping or paragliding experience in the desert, it’s a good idea to remember the following tips to survive a sandstorm:

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  • Pay close attention to storm warnings and stay away from areas where an unpredictable sandstorm could occur. If you are traveling in deserts where the climate is dry and the entire place is surrounded by sand, prepare for a sudden storm to develop at any time.
  • When travelling in such sandy areas, make sure you carry some airtight goggles and a mask that will aid in filtering out the sand particles and dust from the air blowing at you.
  • Even a moistened handkerchief or bandanna tied around your mouth and nose can keep you feeling better than facing the sand particles blowing directly at you.
  • If you are stranded outdoors when a sandstorm strikes, seek shelter at the earliest. Find cover if at all possible. If no shelter is available, lie down, cover your head with your hands if no cloth is available and wait for the storm to die out. Keep eyes, nose and mouth covered at all times.
  • Objects can come hurling at you owing to the heavy blow of air and sand therefore, it is important to protect yourself from being hurt by these objects. Keep your head protected with your arms or a backpack.
  • If you are driving a car when a sandstorm greets you unexpectedly, you could be faced with a very dangerous situation. This is because; your visibility could suddenly be reduced to virtually nothing. If it seems you will be caught in the storm, stop, pull up your windows and wait till it dies away.
  • If the sandstorm in at a reasonable distance away from you, when you are driving then there is a possibility that you could outrun it. In this case, turn around, and drive away in the opposite direction as fast as you can.
  • If possible, get to higher grounds. Since the most concentration of blowing sand is closest to the ground. Your chances of surviving a strong sandstorm increase if you can stay above the storm.

As said earlier, sandstorms are like nature’s tantrums and cannot be stopped. However, being well informed and prepared is half battle won. In fact, it’s not just about sand storms, it’s also good to know how to survive various other natural calamities like earth quakes and snowstorms. Next time you are in a situation with such calamites, don’t panic. Just rewind these tips and play smart. The storm will soon calm down!