I-17 101 traffic interchange

With a major storm coming, highway conditions can change rapidly

With a major storm coming, highway conditions can change rapidly

February 19, 2019

PHOENIX – With heavy rain and snow forecast across Arizona from Wednesday night through Thursday, drivers should slow down for safety and consider putting off travel as conditions can change quickly, according to the Arizona Department of Transportation.

Because sections of highway in northern Arizona can close due to crashes and heavy snow during extreme winter storms, the safest option is always to wait out the storm before driving. It’s also the most-efficient decision, as a highway takes much longer to plow when it’s jammed with vehicles that shouldn’t be traveling on a roadway that’s slick with snow and ice.

Before deciding whether and when to travel, check weather reports and get the latest highway conditions by visiting ADOT’s Arizona Traveler Information site at az511.gov, calling 511 or reviewing ADOT’s Twitter feed (@ArizonaDOT). When a freeway closure or other major traffic event occurs, our free app available at ADOTAlerts.com will send critical information directly to app users in affected areas – where possible, in advance of alternate routes.

ADOT crews are ready to plow snow and ice on highways, but it can still be hazardous to drive in a storm where visibility and road surface conditions can change quickly. Drivers can help out plow operators by never passing a snowplow that’s clearing a highway until the driver pulls over to let traffic pass.

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.

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

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