ADOT works to ensure roadway safety as another storm moves into state

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

PHOENIX -- Following last week's record rainfall in the Phoenix metropolitan area, the Arizona Department of Transportation is preparing for another tropical storm this week that is expected to bring more heavy rain and possible localized flooding to several regions of the state.

The National Weather Service is forecasting significant moisture in the state this week as a result of Hurricane Odile, which is making its way north into the Baja California, Mexico region.

Maintenance crews in the Phoenix and Tucson areas and statewide will be prepared to address road safety issues if flooding, mudslides or rockslides occur. Crews will be monitoring weather conditions and be ready to respond quickly to clear the roads and maintain safe driving conditions for motorists when Mother Nature wreaks havoc on our state.

ADOT is also working in close coordination with cities and the Department of Public Safety to be as prepared as possible when heavy rain is in the forecast.

"Our goal has been - and will continue to be - to focus on public safety and protecting our community members," said ADOT Director John Halikowski. "ADOT will strive to ensure that all people, systems and equipment are operating efficiently to accomplish this goal."

ADOT is also asking drivers to slow down on wet pavement and to avoid driving into areas if flooding occurs. No motorist should ever drive through a flooded wash.

It's important that drivers take it slow and drive safely in heavy rain and low visibility conditions. ADOT, along with the Department of Public Safety, offer the following safety tips for motorists:
First and foremost, slow down. The posted speed limit may not be a safe speed to travel in bad weather. On wet roads your vehicle will have less traction than on a dry road. Slower travel speeds allow for safer stopping distances.

Be sure to leave plenty of room between you and the vehicle in front of you and be aware of the vehicles around you in other travel lanes. Braking will be affected by wet and slippery roadway surfaces.

-Do not enter an area where the roadway has been closed by barricades due to flooding. You risk your life and face being cited under the state's "Stupid Motorist" law.

-Storm runoff can loosen boulders and rocks on slopes above highways. Stay alert in rockfall-prone areas.

-Six inches of water will reach the bottom of most passenger cars, causing loss of control or possible stalling. One to two feet of water will float most vehicles and can cause them to be swept away.

-If traffic lights are out, treat an intersection just like a four-way stop.
 
For the most current information about highway closures and restrictions statewide, visit ADOT's Travel Information Site at az511.gov, follow us on Twitter (@ArizonaDOT) or call 5-1-1.