I-17 101 traffic interchange

Don’t overestimate your abilities when snow and ice are on highways

Don’t overestimate your abilities when snow and ice are on highways

December 27, 2018

PHOENIX – An incoming storm with lower-than-normal snow levels is expected to create slippery driving conditions and limited visibility starting Thursday evening throughout Rim Country, in northeastern Arizona and on steep, winding highways east of the Valley, including US 60, State Route 77 and State Route 177 in the Globe and Superior areas.

Avoid underestimating the power of a winter storm or overestimating your ability to negotiate highways covered with snow and ice. Arizona Department of Transportation snowplows will be out in force, but driving conditions can be hazardous during storms. Highways can close suddenly if enough snow falls in a brief period or if there are crashes, slide-offs or both.

Slow down and drive for the conditions you’re in. Be sure to leave plenty of room between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you.

The safest decision when snow falls and ice forms is delaying travel until the storm passes and highways have been cleared. In addition to the obvious danger if your vehicle and others are stuck on or along a snow-covered highway, this also makes clearing the roadway much more difficult and time-consuming for ADOT’s snowplows.

If delaying travel isn’t possible, leave prepared for the possibility that you’ll spend extended time in winter conditions. Pack an emergency kit with items like extra blankets, warm clothes, food and water, cat litter or sand for traction, a first-aid kit and a fully charged cellphone.

Before leaving, check highway conditions by visiting ADOT’s Arizona Traveler Information site at az511.gov or calling 511. ADOT’s Twitter feed (@ArizonaDOT) is a 24-hour-a-day source of updated information and interaction. The free ADOT Alerts app available at ADOTAlerts.com delivers immediate information in a specific area if a major highway closes due to a crash or heavy weather.

For Interstate 17 travelers, ADOT’s message boards now provide estimated travel times to Flagstaff, Prescott and other high-country destinations.

Give snowplows plenty of room to work, staying at least four vehicle lengths behind. Avoid passing a plow until the driver pulls aside to let traffic by.

For more winter driving tips, visit azdot.gov/KnowSnow.