When a highway closes or you’re just looking for possible routes, it’s natural to consult a navigation app or GPS unit. But drivers need to apply common sense to a computer’s suggestions, starting with not taking buses and other vehicles that aren’t up to the task down unpaved roads.
With back-to-back snowstorms bearing down on Arizona, know what you’re driving into before heading to the high country.
Highway conditions can deteriorate quickly during severe weather as snow accumulates and drivers struggle, and closures can happen suddenly and be prolonged. If enough snow falls, the Arizona Department of Transportation may close lesser-used highways while snowplows address busier routes.
When the snow flies in Northern Arizona, people from all over the state come and play in the Flagstaff area.
Three-day weekends, such as the one upcoming, are weekends when masses of people converge upon northern Arizona and Coconino National Forest to play in the snow. Drivers, visitors and residents will need to have extra patience and be courteous to each other.
Recent snows have brought many visitors to snow play areas along state Route 180, north of Flagstaff, which has caused dangerous conditions as people are parking illegally on the side of SR 180.
With light snow in the forecast heading into a long weekend, winter recreation areas along US 180 near Flagstaff are likely to attract heavy traffic that leads to delays.
Those planning to visit snow-play areas along US 180 over the Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend should leave prepared to spend extended time in winter weather – and to face traffic backlogs getting back to Flagstaff that increase as the day goes on.
ADOT has nearly 200 snowplows and 400 certified drivers stationed around the state to address snow and ice. But as Christmas weekend showed, especially on Interstate 40 from Flagstaff west to Ash Fork and on Interstate 17 south of Flagstaff, a snowstorm can be so intense that travel becomes unsafe quickly.
With nationwide attention on the recent rescue of the Klein family and questions generated from the public, the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office and its Search and Rescue Unit would like to take this opportunity to remind people about being prepared before winter travel. Each year, the Sheriff’s Office responds to countless calls from motorists who have become stranded or stuck on impassable roads because they were following “alternate routes” listed on technology devices and map apps.
Snow in Arizona’s high country is a magnet for desert dwellers looking to ski, sled, make snowmen and have snowball fights.
Too often, however, a vehicle full of people heading to play in the snow winds up parked on the shoulder of a state highway or even Interstate 17 rather than pulled safely into a designated parking area well off the road. This creates a hazard for more than just the occupants.