With winter storms occurring in northern Arizona this month and more anticipated in the coming months, the Arizona Department of Transportation is reminding drivers to be prepared if traveling on state highways that could be affected by snow and ice.
ADOT crews continue to maintain and operate the agency’s statewide fleet of 200 snowplows in areas where they are needed, especially on busier high country roadways like I-17 and I-40.
It’s also important for drivers to equip themselves and their vehicles for winter driving conditions.
ADOT offers safety tips at azdot.gov/KnowSnow. Drivers should be prepared to slow down on potentially slippery highways, while also leaving extra room behind the vehicle ahead. Other recommendations include having a fully charged cellphone and packing emergency prep items such as additional warm clothing, blankets, food and water and first aid kit. Check your vehicle before heading out in winter weather, making sure – at a minimum – that the tires, heater and windshield wipers are in good shape.
Before traveling, research weather conditions to determine whether it would be better to wait for the storm to pass so ADOT’s nearly 200 snowplows can clear the highways. Check road conditions by calling 511 or visiting az511.gov. ADOT’s Twitter account (@ArizonaDOT) and Facebook page (facebook.com/AZDOT) provide real-time information and interaction.
Last year, ADOT began partnering with the National Weather Service to create graphics that use its color codes for storm severity to better inform drivers of what to expect from winter storms. Orange is a moderate-impact storm, red is a high-impact storm and purple is an extreme-impact storm. These graphics are used on ADOT’s social media pages.
While ADOT’s snowplow operators are ready to help you, you should help them in return. Always respect the plow. Avoid passing a snowplow that’s clearing a highway until the driver pulls over to let traffic pass, and never assume a snowplow operator knows your vehicle is nearby. If you can’t see the plow driver, there’s a good chance the driver can’t see you.
Remember: The safest place on a highway when it’s snowing is trailing a safe distance behind a snowplow.
Reminder: for winter driving safety tips visit azdot.gov/KnowSnow.