Reminder: Leave prepared before heading north to play in snow

Don’t park along highways to play, pack an emergency kit

US 180 Shoulder SignPHOENIX – A lot of snow has fallen in the high country over the last week and with more forecast, the Arizona Department of Transportation wants to remind drivers who are heading north to leave prepared, be ready to spend extended time on the roads and never park along the highways to play in the snow. 

ADOT reminds those heading to play in the snow that highway shoulders are for emergencies only and that parking on them to play in the snow is hazardous in a number of ways:

  • Other drivers may be distracted by your vehicle.
  • Other drivers may pull over as well to play in the snow, compounding the problem.
  • Your vehicle may interfere with first responders who need to use the shoulder.
  • Plows can throw snow and ice far off highways.
  • It’s much safer to re-enter highways from on-ramps and other designated entrances.

Research where you plan to play in the snow and what designated parking is available there. If your destination is the Flagstaff area, the Flagstaff Convention & Visitors Bureau lists snow-play locations at FlagstaffArizona.org (follow the Winter Recreation Map link) and offers a hotline at 844.256.SNOW.

Also, it’s not uncommon for lots of desert dwellers to take the opportunity to head north to play in the snow. So, remember to pack your patience and expect to spend extended time in your vehicle getting to and from snow play areas.

It’s also important to leave prepared before heading north to play in the snow. ADOT’s suggestions of items to have in a vehicle include warm clothing and blankets, a fully charged mobile phone and charger, a flashlight with extra batteries, drinking water, healthy snacks, a first-aid kit and necessary medications. Get plenty of rest, plan your route and take frequent breaks from driving.

Make sure your gas tank is at least half to three-quarters full at all times, and ensure that your wipers, window defroster, headlights, taillights, brake lights and turn signals work. 

Get more safety tips at azdot.gov/KnowSnow.