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Winter driving in Arizona high country is serious business

PHOENIX — The state transportation department is ready to roll on winter. Almost 200 plows and 400 operators will be stationed across Arizona when storms hit.

The Arizona Department of Transportation wants drivers to be prepared for snow and ice in the coming months in the high country.

Winter in the high country is not kidding around. Spokesman Doug Nintzel said drivers should leave the shorts and flip-flops at home and the car should be packed
for an emergency.

“That means making sure you have an emergency kit: blankets, flashlight, ice scraper, small shovel, container of sand for traction and hazard lights or reflectors in case your vehicle gets stuck.”

Bring extra clothes and gloves, make sure phones are charged and pack food, water and medications.

The vehicle should be in tip-top shape before hitting the road, starting with the battery, wipers and brakes.

Another tip for drivers: stay four car lengths behind a snowplow.

“It’s better to stay behind the plow and not pass because they can throw a lot of snow out,” Nintzel said.

ADOT will have 235 overhead message boards to warn drivers of conditions and restrictions.

Winter safety operations typically cost the agency between $5 million and $8 million a year.

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