I-17 101 traffic interchange

Travelers should prepare for winter storm over the holiday

Travelers should prepare for winter storm over the holiday

February 18, 2018

PHOENIX – Motorists should be prepared for hazardous driving conditions in the higher elevations of Arizona as a storm moves across the state late Sunday through Tuesday morning, according to the Arizona Department of Transportation.

The National Weather Service has issued winter weather advisories and warnings for northern and southeastern Arizona. Drivers planning travel on highways including Interstate 40, Interstate 17, State Route 89A, State Route 87 and State Route 260 may wish to consider to postpone travel until the storm passes and ADOT’s snowplows have cleared highways.

Conditions can change very quickly during winter storms and may temporarily close highways or result in long backups.

ADOT crews will be pre-treating the highways before the storm arrives. Once it begins snowing, plows will be working 24/7 to clear the roadways. Motorists can assist by remembering not to pass snowplows and making sure to stay at least four car lengths behind a plow.

Drivers should be prepared for winter driving and pack an emergency kit in case they are forced to spend an extended time on the road:

  • Slow down: Adjust speed to conditions.
  • Create space: Leave extra room between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you. Avoid sudden braking.
  • Give snowplows room: Slow down and stay at least four vehicle lengths behind a plow. Wait for a plow to pull over before passing. The safest place to be when there’s snow and ice on a road is behind a snowplow.
  • Leave prepared: Bring extra clothing and gloves, make sure the gas tank is half to three-quarters full at all times, keep cellphones charged and pack extra drinking water, snacks and all necessary medications.
  • Pack an emergency kit: It should include blankets, a flashlight, an ice scraper, a small shovel, a container of sand or cat litter for traction and warning lights or reflectors.
  • Beware of black ice: Melting snow can turn into ice, especially at night. Ice tends to form on bridges first and can be difficult to see.

More winter driving tips are available at azdot.gov/KnowSnow.

Before heading out on the roads, drivers can call 511 or visit ADOT’s Traveler Information Center at az511.gov to get the latest highway conditions around the state. The website features camera images along state highways that give drivers a glimpse of weather conditions in various regions. 

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.