As the holiday travel season continues, drivers should be prepared for slick conditions on the state’s highways, as winter storms bring rain and snow to Arizona over the next several days.
The Arizona Department of Transportation advises drivers to avoid traveling during any severe winter storm conditions. Motorists should stay up to date on forecasts from the National Weather Service and plan their travel accordingly.
Periods of snow and rain are forecast across the state into the New Year’s weekend. Drivers in lower elevations should plan for possible rain and wet roadways at times over the next several days.
Safer conditions will exist in the state’s high country once ADOT snowplow crews have a chance to clear snow and ice from highways impacted by any winter storms. Here are some winter and wet weather safety recommendations:
- Slow down and leave extra room: Adjust your speed to conditions. Slowing down and leaving space between your vehicle and vehicles ahead of you on icy or wet roads can prevent crashes or keep your vehicle from skidding when conditions are slippery.
- Leave prepared: Dress for cold weather if traveling into the high country. Bring extra clothes and gloves as part of an emergency prep kit in case you need to stop along a highway. Be sure your cellphone is charged and pack extra drinking water, food and prescription medications (in case you encounter delays).
- Other items for an emergency kit: Blankets, flashlight, ice scraper, small shovel, container with sand or kitty litter for tire traction if your vehicle is stuck in icy conditions. ADOT has a complete list of items at azdot.gov/KnowSnow (look for “Must haves for every vehicle”).
- Stay up to date: In addition to following National Weather Service forecasts, drivers can visit ADOT’s Traveler Information site at az511.gov or call 511 for highway conditions. Pay attention to messages on ADOT’s network of electronic signs. ADOT’s Twitter feed (@ArizonaDOT) and Facebook page (facebook.com/AZDOT) also provide information and answers about highway conditions.
To assist travelers this winter, ADOT has partnered with the National Weather Service to create color-coded graphics of forecast storm severity. ADOT uses these graphics on its social media accounts to help drivers know the anticipated intensity of a snowstorm and make informed decisions about traveling.