ADOT gears up for winter storm season

Posted: Updated:
File photo of snowplow By Jennifer Thomas File photo of snowplow By Jennifer Thomas

PHOENIX – The Arizona Department of Transportation is gearing for the winter storm season and encouraging drivers to be prepared.

A storm is moving into Arizona on Friday and it is expected to deliver snow to the high country. The National Weather Service is forecasting up to 3 inches of snowfall at the 5,500- to 8,000-foot elevation, including 3 to 6 inches of snow possible above 8,000 feet.

ADOT officials said resources are quickly deployed before, during and after storms to keep state highways safe for travelers. The department's goal is to limit highway closures and to clear snow and ice as soon as possible.

To date, ADOT's 214 snowplows are serviced and ready, 450 snowplow operators are trained and on alert, and maintenance yards are stocked with de-icer materials and equipment.

Arizona travelers can find themselves driving from the sunny, moderate climate of the low desert to ice and snow in the state's mountain regions in just a couple of hours. ADOT officials said motorists need to be prepared for hazardous driving in snowy and icy conditions and they need to watch for snowplows on the road.

ADOT recommends the following winter driving tips:


• Slow down, be patient and drive safely. Plan for extra travel time. Use extra caution around snowplows.

• Be alert: ice forms on bridges first and is hard to see.

• When driving behind a snowplow, stay back at least four car lengths. If you think you’re traveling too close to a plow, you probably are. Be safe and stay back!

• Never pass a snowplow that’s in the process of clearing snow and ice off the road.

• Maintain at least a three-quarter-full tank of gas.

• Notify someone of your travel route, destination and projected arrival time.

• Carry an emergency preparedness kit in your vehicle that includes blankets, extra clothes, a flashlight, an ice scraper, a shovel, sand for traction, a fully charged cell phone, and hazard warning lights or reflectors.

• Brake slowly to avoid any panic braking or jerking the steering wheel.

• Increase the distance between you and the traffic ahead.

• Carry plenty of food and water, and all necessary medications.

• Carry tire chains and snow cables, or use snow tires.

• Wear warm clothes to protect you during extended time periods in cold temperatures.
 
Additional information can be found on ADOT's "Know Snow" website at azdot.gov/KnowSnow.

Before heading out on the roads, drivers are encouraged to call 5-1-1 or log on to ADOT's Traveler Information Center at az511.gov for the latest highway conditions around the state.