Traveling on US 180 to see the snow? Here's how you can make the trip a little easier

Traveling on US 180 to see the snow? Here's how you can make the trip a little easier

December 30, 2015

A look at traffic on US 180 on Dec. 25.

So you’re headed north for a day to play in the snow. You’re ready for fun, but you’re also prepared. You #KnowSnow and you’ve already prepped your car and packed extra warm clothing, blankets, a flashlight, water and food.

Just don’t forget your patience…

Holiday weekends see heavy traffic through Flagstaff to and from snow-play areas along US 180. Delays have been long, particularly in the evening as areas close and many vehicles head south at about the same time.

Besides being patient and prepared, here are a few other ways to make your trip to this area a little easier.

Consider leaving for home a little earlier. When congestion occurs, it typically peaks after snow-play areas along US 180 start closing around 4 p.m. To avoid the worst traffic, you may want to head back to or through Flagstaff earlier in the afternoon.

Take an alternate route through Flagstaff to save time and possible frustration. From I-17 north, take I-40 east to Butler Avenue (Exit 198) and then Butler to Ponderosa Parkway to Route 66 to Switzer Canyon Road to Fort Valley Road/US 180 (it’s a lovely drive!) This route can reduce delays on the trip home, too. Here’s a good map of routes to US 180 through Flagstaff.

Be prepared. No matter where you’re traveling, if you are headed into snowy, icy or cold conditions, you need to be ready for potential delays. Follow our Know Snow advice, including taking 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. Also 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.

A few more tips…

  • Remember, you cannot stop along interstates or highways to play in the snow. This is dangerous not only for you and your vehicle but for other drivers and for first responders who may need to use the shoulder.
  • Give snowplows plenty of room to work! That means staying at least four car lengths behind a plow and never passing a snowplow that’s clearing the road.
  • Before you hit the road, visit or call 511 to check on weather conditions, restrictions and possible closures. ADOT’s Twitter feed (@ArizonaDOT) and Facebook page are excellent sources of information and interaction on traffic conditions around the state.

Finally, we hope you have a fun and safe trip to the snow! Please be sure to share these suggestions with any family and friends who are headed to the snow-play areas along US 180.

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