Holiday Travel

A reflection on Thanksgiving traffic safety messages

A reflection on Thanksgiving traffic safety messages

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A reflection on Thanksgiving traffic safety messages

A reflection on Thanksgiving traffic safety messages

By Kelsey Mo / ADOT Communications
November 24, 2023
A digital message board on the highway encourages motorists to drive safely.

Thanksgiving has come and gone, but we at the Arizona Department of Transportation are always thankful for motorists who practice safe driving. That theme was woven into some of the traffic safety messages displayed on overhead signs this week.

For years, we’ve used messages that play off major current events or holidays to get drivers engaged with traffic safety. We hope that these messages will grab people’s attention and ultimately change their behavior behind the wheel. 

It’s particularly relevant over Thanksgiving as Arizonans travel on the highways to gather with friends and family and revel in festivities. In 2022, there were 16 fatal crashes over the Thanksgiving holiday period, including four that were related to alcohol.

As Arizonans recover from gorging themselves on too much pecan pie, turkey and mashed potatoes, we hope you’ll continue to use your blinkers, travel with care and designate a driver when needed. 

This video compiles the traffic safety messages from Thanksgiving 2023.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Arizona DOT (@arizona_dot)

ADOT: No closures over Thanksgiving weekend (Nov. 22-27)

ADOT: No closures over Thanksgiving weekend (Nov. 22-27)

I-17 101 traffic interchange

ADOT: No closures over Thanksgiving weekend (Nov. 22-27)

ADOT: No closures over Thanksgiving weekend (Nov. 22-27)

November 16, 2023

Drivers should focus on safety, being patient and staying alert

PHOENIX – If you are among the many drivers who will be taking to the highway over Thanksgiving weekend, the Arizona Department of Transportation is working to ease the travel stress.

ADOT and its contractors will not schedule any full construction or maintenance closures on state highways, including Phoenix-area freeways, from Wednesday afternoon, Nov. 22, to Monday morning, Nov. 27, to help limit impacts on holiday travel.

Drivers should prepare for their trips ahead of time and “expect the unexpected” while focusing on safe driving, being patient and alert when on the road. You should get adequate rest, always buckle up, obey speed limits and never drive while impaired. 

Sixteen people were killed last year in a total of 16 fatal crashes on all Arizona roads, including local streets, over the Thanksgiving weekend. Four of those fatalities occurred in crashes listed as alcohol-related.

Due to anticipated heavier traffic conditions during peak travel times including Wednesday and Sunday afternoons, motorists should try to get an early start, allow extra time if possible and be prepared for unscheduled closures or lane restrictions due to crashes, disabled vehicles, inclement weather or other incidents. 

Highways that will be busy with holiday travelers include Interstate 17 and State Route 87 north of the Phoenix area as well as I-10 in areas between the Tucson or Phoenix metro areas and California.

Packing an emergency kit can come in handy in case you encounter inclement weather, experience car troubles or face an unscheduled stop in traffic. Items to pack include:

  • Extra bottled water
  • Snack foods
  • A flashlight and extra batteries
  • Blankets
  • Warm clothing, including extra gloves
  • First aid kit

Drivers should be prepared to slow down and move over if ADOT workers, other first responders or disabled vehicles are along state highways. In addition to on-call statewide maintenance crews, the ADOT Incident Response Unit (IRU), sponsored by GEICO, patrols Phoenix-area freeways in Maricopa County from 4 a.m. to midnight on weekdays and from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekends. The IRU operators assist state troopers as well as drivers in need of help. More information about ADOT IRU can be found on the ADOT website.

Drivers and passengers also should remember prescription medications and items such as a cellphone charger in case of unexpected travel delays. Staying up to date on potential changing weather conditions also is important. ADOT provides additional information at azdot.gov/KnowSnow

Drivers also should check their vehicle before traveling, including tire pressure, engine belts and hoses, fluid levels and the condition of windshield wipers.

Real-time highway conditions are available on ADOT’s Arizona Traveler Information site at az511.gov and the AZ511 app (download free for Apple and Android devices). ADOT also provides highway condition updates via its Twitter/X feed, @ArizonaDOT

ADOT's Thanksgiving Weekend Travel Map (Nov. 22-27, '23)

Ensure your pet's safety when traveling with these tips

Ensure your pet's safety when traveling with these tips

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Ensure your pet's safety when traveling with these tips

Ensure your pet's safety when traveling with these tips

Kathy Cline / ADOT Communications
January 31, 2023
Social Media Pet Travel Safety_cat_prf2

Traveling with pets can be fun: they keep you company and can make for some great photos at landmarks.

Cat safely stowed away during road trip

It can also add some stress and we’re sharing these travel safety tips from the American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals to help ensure comfort and safety for pets -- and their humans -- on road trips.

  • Ensure your pet has a microchip with current information and is also wearing a collar and tag with your name and phone number. A temporary tag with your cell phone and destination phone number is also a good idea.
  • Keep your pet in a well-ventilated crate or carrier that’s well secured. If you don’t want to use a crate or carrier, keep your pet securely buckled in a back-seat harness. Don’t allow your pet to hang out a window; it could be harmed by flying debris or rocks.
  • Pack a pet-friendly travel kit with food, bowls, a leash, waste scoop, plastic bags, medication and a favorite toy, pillow or blanket for a sense of familiarity. Bring bottled water to avoid stomach discomfort to your pet from drinking water that’s not from your area.
  • Make sure to stop every so often so your furry friend can get some exercise, while on a leash, of course.
  • Never leave your pet alone in a parked vehicle. In warmer months, the interior of a vehicle can become an oven. In cold weather, a vehicle can act as a refrigerator, causing an animal to freeze to death.

Happy travels!

Social Media Pet Travel Safety_cat_prf2

Need a holiday gift? ADOT has you covered!

Need a holiday gift? ADOT has you covered!

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Need a holiday gift? ADOT has you covered!

Need a holiday gift? ADOT has you covered!

By Laurie Merrill / ADOT Communications
December 21, 2021

Have you finished your holiday shopping?

If you’re like me, you might be waiting until the last minute to purchase the perfect present.

Well, fellow holiday procrastinators, I have a tip for finding the go-to gift: ADOT.

Seriously, don't laugh.

ADOT can be your one-stop, online shopping destination. ADOT has plenty of ideas for everyone on your list. Best of all, everything can be purchased online.

Here are some of the ADOT options:

  1. You can give the gift of togetherness by signing up for the Adopt-A-Highway program and even get a sign with the name of your choice. More importantly, you are bringing together friends and family to build memories, while performing a valuable community service.
  2. Anyone who appreciates stunning photography will enjoy a subscription to the 
    Adopt a Highway
     award-winning Arizona Highways Magazine. Or perhaps one of an array of unique gifts, such as gorgeous calendars, jewelry, ornaments, books and more offered by the Arizona Highways Store. Whether your recipient is an ardent traveler, history buff or just loves thumbing through glossy pages filled with Arizona beauty, these are ideal presents. Plus, there is an Arizona Highways specialty plate if you want to go all out!
  3. If you have children who love science, engineering or anything on four wheels, you could consider the gift of education and fun by making regular visits to the ADOT Kids website. Created to spark children’s imaginations and curiosity about what makes things go, how bridges are built, how vehicles work and more, it offers activity sheets, videos, quizzes, maze challenges and more. Want to know about snowplows? Highway signs? Engineering paths? It's all on ADOT Kids.
  4. Okay, maybe these don’t really into the holiday present category, but they are free and will save you tons of time on highways. Download the ADOT Alerts and AZ511 apps today or anytime during the holidays and get the gift of avoiding road closures, crashes and other emergency events.
  5. The last gift idea is the most precious. If you haven't already, considering registering to become an organ and tissue donor with the Donor Network of Arizona. The ADOT Motor Vehicle Division partners with the Donor Network of Arizona to allow people to register as donors when they apply for or renew a driver license.

Shopping with ADOT is convenient and offers some interesting, thoughtful and, potentially, life-saving gifts. In fact, during a break from writing this blog, I ordered a Arizona Highways calendar for one one my friends who has everything.  

For more blogs on ADOT holiday gifts: 

 

 

 

 

 

Now’s the time to prepare for a Memorial Day road trip

Now’s the time to prepare for a Memorial Day road trip

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Now’s the time to prepare for a Memorial Day road trip

Now’s the time to prepare for a Memorial Day road trip

By Doug Nintzel / ADOT Communications
May 21, 2021

The extended Memorial Day weekend is something many of you have been looking forward to as a way to get out of town, especially after what the past year has delivered. But now’s the time to act if you’re planning a road trip on our Arizona highways. You shouldn’t delay steps to get ready.

First, a reminder about Memorial Day. It is a day set aside to honor the men and women who lost their lives while serving in the U.S. military. Even if you’re traveling, we hope you’ll take some time over this upcoming last weekend in May to remember those who sacrificed for our country and freedom.

What can you do to be prepared for a road trip over Memorial Day weekend and during our hot summer travel season in Arizona? You should “Expect the Unexpected.” That includes things that can go wrong with your vehicle.

Don’t wait until the last minute to check your car or truck for potential problems. Hopefully these are things you can look at well ahead of traveling: Engine fluids, including the oil condition and level. Check for cracks in fan belts. How do your windshield wipers look, especially if you haven’t been using them very much because of dry weather?

Tire pressure is so important during our summer season. There are no guarantees, but proper tire pressure is a good way to avoid a blowout and a stop along a highway shoulder. No fun and potentially dangerous.

While we aren’t telling you to get your vehicle in for a mechanic to check on things, it might be a good idea.

Here are other items on our safe driving checklist:

  • Get adequate rest before traveling. Drowsy driving is a form of impaired driving.
  • Buckle up - that includes you AND all passengers. Arizona law requires all children under 8 years old and under 4’9” be properly secured in a child safety seat. 
  • Never drive while impaired. Arrange for a designated driver or ride service as needed. Lives are on the line.
  • Avoid excessive speeding, stay patient while sharing the road and avoid distractions including cellphone use. 

ADOT will not schedule any closures for construction or maintenance along state highways over the extended holiday weekend. Our contractors and ADOT personnel will give you a break while promoting safe travel across the state. Yes, there can be existing work zones in place – with lane restrictions – and we ask that you stay alert, slow down and merge safely when approaching and traveling through any work zones.

You also shouldn’t head out on a road trip without packing an emergency preparedness kit. Again, this is about expecting the unexpected. Unscheduled highway closures due to crashes, disabled vehicles or other events, including wildfires, are always possible. So make sure you’ve packed a kit with extra supplies, including drinking water, a first aid kit, healthy snacks and other things that can help keep you comfortable in case you encounter a closure and stopped traffic.

ADOT has more information about traveling in the heat on our Transportation Safety site.

We’re at that time of the year when you should be especially careful about wildfire dangers. Remember that dragging chains can create a spark that might start a fire. Avoid stopping or parking in areas along highways with taller grasses or brush. Hot parts on the underside of your vehicle also could ignite those fuels.

ADOT encourages you to stay up to date. Don’t forget that real-time highway conditions are available on our Arizona Traveler Information site at az511.gov, by downloading the AZ 511 app or by calling 511. You also can track highway information via ADOT’s Twitter feed, @ArizonaDOT. When a freeway closure or other major traffic event occurs, ADOT’s free app available at ADOTAlerts.com will send critical information directly to app users in affected areas – where possible, in advance of alternate routes.

So plan ahead, be an alert driver and focus on safety.

Safety tips if you’re on the road during holidays and beyond

Safety tips if you’re on the road during holidays and beyond

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Safety tips if you’re on the road during holidays and beyond

Safety tips if you’re on the road during holidays and beyond

By Doug Nintzel / ADOT Communications
December 23, 2020

As the Christmas and New Year’s weekends arrive to ring out 2020, we hope you’re combining any travel plans with a focus on health-related safety due to the ongoing COVID-19 situation.

During recent holiday seasons, ADOT has focused on safe driving recommendations for people who will be traveling on our highways. But this year we start by emphasizing this reminder: No matter the destination, don’t forget to bring and be prepared to use a mask to help stop the spread of the virus. Have you thought about taking the time now to put a spare, fresh mask or two in your vehicle? 

On the highway safety side of the ledger, these reminders apply not only to the holiday season but also the winter travel season, especially if your plans will have you in the high country.

Before you hit the highway, check your vehicle for things such as correct tire pressure, engine fluid levels and the condition of your windshield wipers. Think about whether a visit to your auto maintenance shop is in order.

Get adequate rest before driving. Fatigue, like distracted driving, is a serious highway safety issue you shouldn’t ignore. The same goes for never driving if impaired by alcohol or drugs. Arrange for a designated driver or ride service if necessary. Lives are on the line. Be smart about it.

Be prepared for changing weather conditions, especially in our high country. Take time ahead of a trip to put together an emergency prep kit that you can put in the trunk or back of your vehicle. Pack things such as an extra change of clothes, blankets, drinking water, healthy snacks, a flashlight and other items that will help keep you comfortable in case you have to stop due to bad weather or an unscheduled highway closure. A fully charged cellphone also is important. ADOT has more information about an emergency kit when you visit azdot.gov/KnowSnow and look for the words “Must Haves.”

When you’re behind the wheel, you and your passengers should be using those seat belts. Don’t race to your destination. Speeding, aggressive and distracted driving are a recipe for serious crashes. If a winter storm is approaching or starting, it’s usually a good idea to let the storm pass before traveling. That way you’re giving ADOT’s snowplow operators time to improve the highways.

If you are driving behind one of our snowplows, stay at least four vehicle lengths back and try to avoid passing one of these big plows.

ADOT and its contractors cooperate in limiting full closures along state highways during the holidays. But work does continue and you should use caution when approaching or traveling through any work zones. This applies no matter what time of year you travel. 

Real-time highway conditions are available on ADOT’s Arizona Traveler Information site at az511.gov, by calling 511, using the AZ 511 app and through ADOT’s Twitter feed, @ArizonaDOT. When a freeway closure or other major traffic event occurs, ADOT’s free app available at azdot.gov/ADOTalerts will send critical information directly to app users in affected areas – where possible, in advance of alternate routes. 

Remember to focus on safety. We’ll want to see you in 2021. Happy Holidays from ADOT.

Ready for holiday weekend travel? With these tips you will be!

Ready for holiday weekend travel? With these tips you will be!

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Ready for holiday weekend travel? With these tips you will be!

Ready for holiday weekend travel? With these tips you will be!

By David Rookhuyzen / ADOT Communications
July 1, 2020

This won't come as a big shock to anyone, but state highways see a lot of travel on the weekends. And if it's a holiday weekend, you can expect to be heading out of town with potentially thousands of your best friends.

As the folks who watch over those state highways you take to get to the high country, can we offer a few words of wisdom?

  • First and foremost, planning and preparation are everything. Make sure your car - battery, coolant, tirest, etc. - is in tip-top shape. No one wants to be broken down on the side of the road for Independence Day.
  • Expect the unexpected. Keep extra water, healthy snacks, a first aid kit, jumper cables and other emergency supplies in your vehicle just in case.
  • Plan your route ahead of time. And before taking off, check current traffic conditions at az511.gov. You can also download the az511 mobile app and our ADOT Alerts app to receive notifications en route.
  • Buckle up and obey the speed limit.
  • NEVER drive impaired. Designate a driver.
  • This may have been your plan anyway, but please remember to observe social distance during the current public health situation.
  • You can find more tips to make sure you are ready to enjoy the long weekend on our Road Trip Safety Page.

One last thing to consider as you prepare to head out. As we told you about earlier this week, you should expect longer-than-usual delays on State Route 87 just south of State Route 188. The Bush Fire caused millions of dollars worth of guardrail and right-of-way fence damage along 13 miles of the highway, meaning the right lane is closed along that stretch until repairs can be finished. If you heading toward Payson, the White Mountains or the Mogollon Rim might wish to consider alternate routes, such as Interstate 17 to State Route 260, or US 60 through Globe and Show Low. 

Over Labor Day weekend, help us help you get where you're going safely

Over Labor Day weekend, help us help you get where you're going safely

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Over Labor Day weekend, help us help you get where you're going safely

Over Labor Day weekend, help us help you get where you're going safely

August 31, 2018

By David Woodfill / ADOT Communications

While you've been planning your holiday weekend, we've been busy getting ready to help you get safely to your destination.

For example: With heavy traffic expected as people head to and from the high country on Interstate 17, we're temporarily reducing the speed limit by 10 mph between New River and Sunset Point in the direction of greatest demand. You can help by taking it easy through this stretch and avoiding the speeding and aggressive driving that contribute to crashes and the resulting backups.

We've also stationed equipment along I-17 in the area to help clear crashes and stalled vehicles as quickly as possible.

All construction on is on hold for the three-day weekend, though some existing restrictions will remain in place for ongoing projects, including a closure of the ramp from northbound I-17 to westbound I-40 in Flagstaff, where we're improving I-40 bridge decks. Be sure to check az511.gov or call 511 to learn about any restrictions that will be in place on your route.

No matter how much planning we do, it's not enough if you and other motorists don't do your part. That's why we provide these tips for Labor Day travel:

  • Plan for additional travel time in case of delays.
  • Obey speed limits.
  • Be civil with your fellow drivers.
  • Slow down in existing work zones.
  • Use seat belts.
  • Never drive impaired and prevent others from doing so.

And, just in case you do get stuck in traffic, here are a few things to consider:

  • Pack water and snacks.
  • Bring all necessary medications.
  • Keep your phone charged.

Related: Three tips for a successful Labor Day road trip

So go ahead and get out there. Enjoy the best Arizona has to offer this weekend as well as a hot dog or three. But – most importantly – get where you're going safely.

Three tips for a successful Labor Day road trip

Three tips for a successful Labor Day road trip

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Three tips for a successful Labor Day road trip

Three tips for a successful Labor Day road trip

August 31, 2017

Day Trip Preparedness

By Caroline Carpenter / ADOT Communications

The Labor Day holiday weekend often means packing up the family for one last summer road trip. Have fun if you to take that trip, but make sure you’re prepared in case you encounter problems while on the road.

Unexpected road closures or a mechanical issue with your car can put a damper on your weekend plans. While you can’t control when these things happen, you can be prepared just in case.

Pack water and snacks

The No. 1 thing you should always have in your car is water – and plenty of it. It’s always a good idea to put that water in a cooler to keep it cold or add several frozen water bottles for cooling off or to thaw and drink. Avoid getting hungry by having extra snacks on hand. A healthy snack can go a long way to calming your kids if your family gets stuck on the road for an extended period.

Bring necessary medication

No matter how long or short your road trip, it’s always a good idea to have your necessary medication on hand. A medical emergency is the last thing you want while on a trip.

Keep phone fully charged

If you’re delayed because of a road closure or another unexpected event, a charged cellphone will allow you to call emergency crews, check the status of a traffic incident and keep your family updated on your whereabouts.

Before you leave home, remember to visit the Arizona Traveler Information site at az511.gov to see if there are any issues with your planned route.

ADOT boards light up with Labor Day safety messages

ADOT boards light up with Labor Day safety messages

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ADOT boards light up with Labor Day safety messages

ADOT boards light up with Labor Day safety messages

September 2, 2016

Highway Sign: Dumb Drivers & Smartphones Don't Mix

By Caroline Carpenter / ADOT Communications

ADOT’s overhead message boards are carrying a special message for the busy Labor Day weekend, traditionally one of the deadliest times on Arizona roadways. ADOT hopes to make this weekend one with zero fatalities.

Drivers will see the following message along holiday travel corridors:

HOLIDAY TRAVEL
CORRIDOR
STAY ALERT/NO SPEEDING/BUCKLE UP

Holiday travel corridors are highly traveled state highways with additional officers and ADOT personnel on hand to encourage safety and handle any crashes that may occur. The holiday travel corridors are Interstate 17 between north Phoenix and Flagstaff, Interstate 10 between Phoenix and Tucson, and SR 87 between Mesa and Payson.

ADOT has positioned heavy equipment, trucks and crews along holiday corridors starting. Front loaders and incident-response trucks are stationed along I-17 near Anthem, I-10 near Queen Creek Road southeast of Phoenix and along State Route 87 north of Fountain Hills.

If you are traveling this weekend, leave prepared:

  • Check your vehicle, including tire pressure, before you leave.
  • Get a good night’s rest before heading out on a trip.
  • Buckle up.
  • Obey posted speed limits.
  • Avoid the busiest travel times, often Friday and Monday afternoons, if possible.
  • Never drive while impaired. Arrange for a designated driver in advance.
  • Be prepared for unexpected closures as well as changing weather conditions, including blowing dust and thunderstorms.
  • Pack extra drinking water and snack foods in case traffic is stopped due to a crash or disabled vehicle up ahead.

Find additional road trip tips on the ADOT Transportation Safety page.