Know Snow: Drivers encouraged to prepare for winter driving

Winter isn’t officially here yet, but snow is in the forecast and we’re all ready for the icy season ahead. Are you?

Before you answer that, let us first tell you a little bit about ADOT’s winter-weather preparations…

If you’ve been following us on the ADOT Blog for the past few seasons, you already know that ADOT works to remove snow and ice during and after storms to keep state highways safe for travelers. Public safety is the top priority during winter storms.

The goal is to limit highway closures and to clear snow and ice as soon as possible. To date, ADOT’s 214 snowplows are serviced and ready, 450 snowplow operators are trained and on alert and maintenance yards are stocked with deicer materials and equipment.

Know Snow

Arizona is really diverse when it comes to climates. You can drive just a couple of hours from sunny, moderate temperatures in the low desert to ice and snow in the state’s mountain regions. Those winter weather conditions can quickly cause havoc with travel plans, which is why we want to make sure you “Know Snow” and that you’re prepared for the winter driving season that’s upon us.

Here are some driving tips to help you and your loved ones stay safe while on the road this winter:

  • Slow down, be patient and drive safely. Plan for extra travel time. Use extra caution around snowplows.
  • Be alert: ice forms on bridges first and is hard to see.
  • When driving behind a snowplow, stay back at least four car lengths. If you think you’re traveling too close to a plow, you probably are. Be safe and stay back!
  • Never pass a snowplow that’s in the process of clearing snow and ice off the road.
  • Maintain at least a three-quarter-full tank of gas.
  • Notify someone of your travel route, destination and projected arrival time.
  • Carry an emergency preparedness kit in your vehicle that includes blankets, extra clothes, a flashlight, an ice scraper, a shovel, sand for traction, a fully charged cell phone and hazard warning lights or reflectors.
  • Brake slowly to avoid any panic braking or jerking the steering wheel.
  • Increase the distance between you and the traffic ahead.
  • Carry plenty of food and water, and all necessary medications.
  • Carry tire chains and snow cables, or use snow tires.
  • Wear warm clothes to protect you during extended time periods in cold temperatures.

We have additional information on our “Know Snow” webpage, where you’ll find more tips, videos and a helpful brochure you can print and keep in your vehicle’s glove box when traveling in the high country.

One more thing we want to point out is where to find information on highway conditions around the state. Before you head out on the road, you are encouraged to call 511 or visit ADOT’s Traveler Information Center at for the latest information. On that site, you can see real-time images along state highways that give you a glimpse of weather conditions in various regions. ADOT’s Twitter feed is a great resource, too.

Finally, you’ll also want to stay tuned to this blog … we have more “Know Snow” posts lined up for you in the coming days!