I-17 101 traffic interchange

Resuming travel this winter? Make sure you ‘Know Snow’

Resuming travel this winter? Make sure you ‘Know Snow’

November 16, 2021

PHOENIX – Cooler temperatures are around the corner and that means snow in Arizona’s high country. To help travelers this winter, the Arizona Department of Transportation has partnered with the National Weather Service to create graphics that use their color code for storm severity to better inform drivers of what to expect from winter storms.

Orange is a moderate-impact snowstorm. With this type of storm, drivers should slow down when roads are slick with snow and ice and prepare to spend longer on the road. Leave extra room behind the vehicle ahead. Red is a high-impact snowstorm. In this scenario, 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. Purple is an extreme-impact storm with 2 to 3 inches of snowfall per hour. Drivers should avoid travel altogether during this type of storm due to dangerous travel conditions.

In each case, drivers should pack an emergency kit that includes blankets, warm clothing, a fully charged cell phone, food and water, medication and sand or kitty litter.

ADOT will use these graphics on its social media accounts to help drivers know what intensity of snowstorm to expect so drivers can make informed decisions about travel. ADOT’s Twitter account (@ArizonaDOT) and Facebook page (facebook.com/AZDOT) provide real-time information and interaction.

Drivers can also check road conditions by calling 511 or visiting az511.gov. 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.

ADOT is also ready to help keep highways clear of snow and ice this winter with its fleet of 200 snowplows. Many of these plows include auxiliary cab heaters to keep drivers warm while not idling and wasting fuel; heated windshields to prevent wipers from freezing and getting stuck; backup cameras and a camera and laser guidance system to help guide operators; state-of-the-art lighting packages, and front flex plows that can bend in different configurations to remove snow.

If you come across a snowplow working to clear the road, always help out the plow driver by staying back until the driver pulls over to let traffic pass. Also, 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.

Check out more safety tips before resuming your travels this winter season by visiting azdot.gov/KnowSnow.