The best ways to stay safe while driving this Thanksgiving

Nov 25, 2014, 6:00 AM | Updated: 10:45 am

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, it’s important to make sure you get to and from your holiday destinations safely.

The Arizona Department of Transportation said there are no construction closures scheduled along Phoenix-area freeways or state highways over the Thanksgiving weekend.

ADOT says to be extremely careful when driving, and don’t rush off to Thanksgiving celebrations. 13 people were killed in a total of 10 fatal crashes along Arizona highways and local roads over the Thanksgiving weekend last year, ADOT says. Three of those fatal crashes were alcohol-related.

ADOT, the Department of Public Safety and Governor’s Office of Highway Safety are asking motorists to follow a few safe-driving tips like getting a good night’s sleep, buckling up and double-checking child safety seats, not texting while driving and being prepared for unscheduled closures due to accidents.

ADOT is also teaming up with DPS and the Black Canyon City and Daisy Mountain fire departments to focus on emergency response efforts along Interstate 17 north of Phoenix, especially when heavier traffic is expected on Wednesday and Sunday afternoons. ADOT will position vehicles and equipment in the Anthem and Cordes Junction areas to allow crews to quickly respond to crashes or disabled vehicles and reopen the highway in the event of closures or lane restrictions.

The Arizona Highway Patrol Association is also offering some tips to make sure you stay aware of your surroundings while driving. With the holidays upon us, traffic on the highways is increasing.

“First and foremost is to observe traffic laws, whether its speed limits, lane restrictions, those kinds of things. Watch out for construction that’s going on,” said president of The AHPA, Sergeant Jimmy Chavez.

Blinding dust storms can occur in Arizona even during the winter months. Drivers need to be aware that if dust storms do pop up, he or she should take the necessary precautions to make sure nothing happens when they are driving through them, Chavez said.

Chavez also suggests you take advantage of rest stops, especially during long drives. He also advises people to not drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs, this includes prescription medication.

“Some of the other tips would be to check the vehicle; tire pressure, fluids, (and) have emergency supplies handy, just in case,” Chavez said.

You should carry an emergency kit that includes items such as cell phones, flashlights (with extra batteries), jumper cables, and water when you road trip.

The AHPA encourages anyone who views suspicious or aggressive drivers on the road to call 911. Make sure your calls can be made safely using a hands-free device to avoid any distractions and limit your cellphone use to emergency calls only.

Also make sure to check your tires before hitting the road this holiday. Valley auto experts are urging people to make sure their car is as ready to travel as they are. Matt Allen with KTAR’s Bumper to Bumper Radio said the most important thing to check on before heading out is a vehicle’s tires.

“You want to get the pressure set right, but you also want to look at the tread to make sure we don’t have any of that choppiness, or bald spots or cracking or anything in the tires,” Allen said.

Allen said checking a tires air pressure is simple to do and the correct pressure is often found on the car’s door sticker or in the owner’s manual. Beside tires, Allen also recommends people make sure their windshield wipers are in good condition and that their wiper fluid will not freeze.

“So if you’re traveling up north or going skiing or going somewhere where the weather may freeze, that’s a good idea too,” Allen said.

He said some of these simple checks can go a long way to preventing tire blowouts or accidents and can help keep drivers safe this holiday.

For more information on the latest highway conditions across the state, visit ADOT’s Travel Information site or call 511. If you’re traveling outside Arizona, call 1-888-411-ROAD. ADOT’s public information line for state highway conditions is 602-712-6513. You can also track closures and other highway conditions through ADOT’s Twitter account.

KTAR’S Lauren Grifo and Mark Remillard contributed to this report.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

(Pexels photo)...
KTAR.com

Arizona Department of Revenue seeks owners of $65M in unclaimed property

The Arizona Department of Revenue is trying to find the rightful owners of $65 million in unclaimed bank accounts that belong to 5,000 residents.
23 hours ago
(DraftKings Screenshot)...
Associated Press

Arizona collects about $1,500 in fantasy sports tax in first days

Arizona collected just under $1,600 in tax revenue during the first four days of fantasy sports contests after they became legal in August.
23 hours ago
(Pexels Photo)...
KTAR.com

Ducey announces $3.5M for several small business assistance programs

Gov. Doug Ducey announced Monday $3.5 million in funding for several programs aimed at assisting small businesses recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
23 hours ago
(Facebook Photo/Glendale Police Department - Arizona)...
KTAR.com

Police investigate shooting in parking lot of Glendale gas station

Police are searching for the suspect in a shooting Monday outside a Glendale gas station that left a woman hospitalized with life-threatening injuries.
23 hours ago
ADOT photo...
KTAR.com

US 60 closure east of Phoenix area extended as bridge work continues

The old Pinto Bridge didn't come down as expected Monday, leaving U.S. 60 closed indefinitely between Superior and Miami.
23 hours ago
FILE - Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs removes her face mask as she addresses the members of...
Kevin Stone

Arizona Sec. Katie Hobbs to testify at US Senate hearing on election threats

Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs is scheduled to testify Tuesday during a U.S. Senate hearing titled “Emerging Threats to Election Administration.”
23 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
PNC BANK

How your family can explore the Musical Instrument Museum

Whether you want to spend a day with family, do crafts with kids at home, or have an adult night out, the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix has options. As the world’s only global musical instrument museum, MIM offers interactive and immersive exhibits to foster an appreciation of different cultures and their instruments. “A visit […]
...
Schwartz Laser Eye Center

How to sharpen your vision with elective procedures

Imagine opening your eyes in the morning and being able to see clearly. You wouldn’t have to wait to put on glasses or contacts, and there would be no more blurry showers nor forgetting where your glasses are.
...
PNC Bank

How one organization supports early childhood literacy for the most vulnerable

Nearly two out of every three children in low-income communities don’t own a single children’s book, a fact that ultimately could have profound impacts even before entering kindergarten, according to Arizona nonprofit Southwest Human Development.
The best ways to stay safe while driving this Thanksgiving