By Dallas Hammit / ADOT State Engineer
Our plows, including some new ones that have just been added to the fleet, are prepped and in position. ADOT snowplow operators are ready to go, too – they train throughout the year to help keep the roads open when the snow starts to fall.
Yes, the agency is ready for any storm we face. The only variable we cannot control is the behavior of all the drivers on the road.
As I said last year
, winter travel safety tips generally don’t change much year to year, but that doesn’t mean we can stop paying attention. All drivers benefit from a reminder of what to do when faced with winter conditions. We also should take the time to review our behaviors and adjust our driving habits if needed to ensure we’re operating our vehicles in the safest manner possible.
I’d like to encourage you to review these safety tips and share them with your loved ones:
- Slow Down and Leave Extra Room: Adjust your speed to conditions. Driving slower and leaving space between your vehicle and others when snow and ice are present can improve your ability to brake and prevent skids.
- Leave Prepared: Dress for cold weather, bring extra clothes and gloves, be sure your cellphone is charged, and pack food, water and necessary medications. Make sure your vehicle is in good working condition, starting with the battery, heater/defroster, wiper blades, wiper fluid and brakes.
- Pack an Emergency Kit: For starters, take blankets, a flashlight, an ice scraper, a small shovel, a container of sand for traction, a reflective vest and hazard lights or reflectors in case your vehicle becomes disabled.
- Beware of Black Ice: Black ice tends to form at night when melting snow freezes and is especially common on bridges.
- Stay Up to Date: Visit ADOT’s Travel Information site at az511.gov or call 511 to get the latest highway conditions, and pay attention to messages on overhead boards. ADOT’s Twitter feed (@ArizonaDOT) is an excellent source of information, as is ADOT’s free app that sends critical information directly to app users in affected areas. Find details at ADOTAlerts.com.
I also hope you’ll take a moment to check out azdot.gov/ KnowSnow
, ADOT’s site for all things related to winter travel. There, you’ll find additional safety tips, videos and infographics.
Editor's Note: More safety messages from Dallas Hammit, ADOT's state engineer and deputy director for transportation, are available at Driving Safety Home on azdot.gov.