Technology, training help ADOT keep roads safe during winter

Know Snow by reviewing, practicing safety tips

PHOENIX — When snow begins to fall, trained Arizona Department of Transportation snowplow operators will work around the clock to keep the roads safe. Ever-evolving technology incorporated into the snowplows help give the operators a leg up during their 12-hour shifts.

This year, 25 of ADOT’s snowplows have been equipped with new cameras that can stream a live feed back to district offices. These new cameras are another technological innovation to help ADOT be more aware of road conditions along different stretches of highway. They will help decision makers like district engineers and maintenance superintendents be able to see what the plow drivers are seeing.

ADOT districts will be able to see what conditions are like in neighboring districts and make plans to get a jump on snowplow deployment.

Many of ADOT’s nearly 200 snowplows also include auxiliary cab heaters to keep drivers warm while not idling and wasting fuel; heated windshields to prevent wipers from freezing and getting stuck; backup cameras and a camera and laser guidance system to help guide operators; state-of-the-art lighting packages, and front flex plows that can bend in different configurations to remove snow.

ADOT’s 400 snowplow drivers undergo extensive training so they can keep state highways safe. Now that we’re in the season for winter storms to potentially hit, it’s time for you to get to Know Snow by reviewing ADOT’s safety tips at azdot.gov/KnowSnow.

For starters, slow down when roads are slick with snow and ice, leaving extra room behind the vehicle ahead. Take a fully charged cell phone, warm clothing and an emergency kit that includes blankets, food and water, medication and sand or kitty litter.

Check your vehicle before heading out in winter weather, making sure – at a minimum – that the tires, heater and windshield wipers are in good shape.

Before traveling, research weather conditions to determine whether it would be smarter to sit out a storm so ADOT’s snowplows can clear highways. Check road conditions by calling 511 or visiting az511.gov. ADOT’s Twitter account (@ArizonaDOT) and Facebook page (facebook.com/AZDOT) provide real-time information and interaction. And the free ADOT Alerts app available at azdot.gov/ADOTAlerts will send critical information, including alternate routes, should snow and ice close a major highway.

While ADOT’s snowplow operators are ready to help you, you should help them in return. Always respect the plow. Avoid passing a snowplow that’s clearing a highway until the driver pulls over to let traffic pass, and never assume a snowplow operator knows your vehicle is nearby. If you can’t see the plow driver, there’s a good chance the driver can’t see you.

Remember: The safest place on a highway when it’s snowing is trailing a safe distance behind a snowplow.

Before traveling, start your winter season with a visit to azdot.gov/KnowSnow so you can Know Snow in Arizona.