Although Santa might have clear sailing before winter weather arrives in Arizona this week, drivers should prepare for snow and ice on highways in parts of the state’s high country.
The Arizona Department of Transportation will be monitoring conditions along state highways in the coming days. ADOT’s snowplow crews are prepared to respond if and when snow falls at higher elevations.
Rain could also cause slick conditions on other roadways. Motorists should be ready to slow down and allow extra braking distance behind other vehicles.
Snow can accumulate quickly in the high country, leading to slide-offs and crashes involving drivers unprepared for icy conditions. ADOT offers the following winter travel safety tips:
Follow weather reports and check highway conditions by visiting ADOT’s Travel Information site at az511.gov or calling 511. ADOT also provides a free mobile app for iOS and Android that sends critical information on major highway closures as well as alternate routes. It’s available at ADOTAlerts.com.
Be prepared to delay travel while snow is falling and ADOT’s snowplows are working to clear highways. Vehicles stopped due to snowy or icy conditions, or crashes, make it more difficult for ADOT’s snowplow operators to do their jobs.
If traveling into the high country, be prepared for possible delays and unscheduled closures. Pack an emergency kit that includes warm clothes and gloves, blankets, healthy snacks, water and a first-aid kit including all necessary medications and a fully charged cellphone. ADOT’s list of emergency kit items can be found at azdot.gov/KnowSnow.
Make sure your vehicle is in good working condition. Check your engine belts and fluid levels, as well as windshield wipers. In the high country, consider having snow tires, chains or studded tires.
ADOT has a fleet of nearly 200 snowplows across the state. Drivers should give snowplow operators plenty of room to work and avoid passing a plow until the driver pulls over to let traffic by. Watch for snowplows operating across multiple lanes or in tandem. The safest place on a highway when it’s snowing is trailing at a safe distance – at least four car lengths – behind a snowplow.