I-17 101 traffic interchange

With heavy snow forecast, ADOT advises waiting before traveling

With heavy snow forecast, ADOT advises waiting before traveling

February 22, 2022

PHOENIX – With snow impacting Arizona’s high country today through Thursday, the Arizona Department of Transportation advises drivers to consider delaying all but essential travel before heading north.

The National Weather Service is predicting a high impact snowstorm snowfall down to 4000 feet in elevation and as much as 2 inches per hour on Wednesday. Waiting out the storm before traveling is the safest and most efficient option because it allows ADOT’s snowplows to clear the highways more quickly. A highway takes much longer to plow when it’s crowded with vehicles that shouldn’t be traveling on a roadway that’s slick with snow and ice. 

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.

As part of ADOT’s partnership with the National Weather Service, the agency will post the red high-impact storm graphic on its social media accounts to help drivers make informed decisions about travel. In a high-impact snowstorm, drivers should avoid travel if possible. If delay is not possible, strongly consider using 4x4 or snow chains and prepare to spend extended amounts of time in the vehicle.

Weather and road conditions can change rapidly during a winter storm, so if delaying travel is not possible, leave prepared with the expectation of spending extended time on the road. Remember to slow down, leave extra room behind the vehicle ahead of you, and pack an emergency kit containing a fully charged cell phone, warm clothing, blankets, food and water, medications and sand or kitty litter in case you get stuck in the snow.

Also important to remember if you must travel is to respect the plow. While ADOT’s snowplow operators are ready to help you by clearing the highways, you should help them in return. 

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 - about four car lengths - behind a snowplow.

Visit azdot.gov/KnowSnow for more winter driving tips.