Driving Safety Home: Be alert and expect the unexpected

Driving Safety Home: Be alert and expect the unexpected

June 24, 2016

By Dallas Hammit / ADOT Deputy Director for Transportation

This month’s Driving Safety Home message was going to focus solely on Pull Aside, Stay Alive, ADOT’s annual safety campaign that coincides with the start of summer’s monsoon season. But then, recently, within the span of just a few days, two people working on state highways were hit and killed by vehicles.

On the morning of June 13, a passenger car struck and killed an employee of a contractor working on an ADOT project as he was removing barricades from Loop 101 Pima Freeway in Scottsdale. Earlier in the month, a box truck hit and killed a tow company driver responding to a stalled vehicle on Interstate 10 near Benson.

These tragedies show us all just how important it is for drivers to limit distractions and pay attention on the road.

I still want to provide details on dust storm safety, but first I am going to remind you of Arizona’s “Move Over” law. It requires motorists to move over one lane – or slow down if it is not safe to change lanes – when driving by ANY vehicle with flashing lights pulled to the side of the roadway.

ADOT has hundreds of employees working on maintenance and construction projects all over the state and, as you can imagine, the “Move Over” law is very important to us here at ADOT. I hope you’ll always remember to move over when it is safe to do so because it could help save a life. I also encourage you to share the message with your friends and family. Many of them might not know that the law was expanded in 2011 to cover, not only authorized emergency vehicles, but ANY stationary vehicle, including tow trucks, cars belonging to stranded motorists and ADOT vehicles.

As for work zone safety, there’s quite a bit of information on our website for you to review and share. Most importantly, I ask that you remember to expect the unexpected – speed limits may be reduced and people may be working in the road. It’s crucial for drivers to slow down, keep a safe distance from the vehicle ahead and pay attention.

Now, on to dust storm safety ...

As in previous years, we’re warning all motorists that they should NEVER drive into a dust storm. However, we also want to make sure you know that even smaller dust channels can be just as dangerous as those 3,000-foot haboobs we’ve seen before. The smaller storms are often fast moving and can whip up dust alongside highways without warning, meaning drivers often don’t have a chance to avoid them.

Please visit where you’ll find safe-driving tips and additional information. You should also know that ADOT employs a number of tools, including overhead highway signs, the 511 travel information line and social media to provide motorists with the latest conditions. Please check Twitter (@ArizonaDOT) and BEFORE you get on the road. And, again, please be sure to share this information with your loved ones so they can travel safe.


EDITOR'S NOTE: More safety messages from Dallas Hammit, ADOT's state engineer, are available at Driving Safety Home on