Whether you are a native Arizonan or a transplant from the Midwest accustomed to driving in rain, snow, and sleet, it’s always good to have a refresher on how to drive in in hazardous conditions as winter officially begins. Many folks from Gilbert and the Phoenix Metro area plan trips to northern Arizona to Flagstaff, the Grand Canyon, Williams, Prescott and Payson to enjoy the picturesque towns, majestic vistas and snowy wintery weather.
The Arizona Department of Transportation provided Desert Car Care McQueen with several tips about how to prepare for winter driving conditions, and the key is to be prepared.
In our previous post this month, we explained our S.A.F.E trip safety tips:
- Safety inspection by a trusted mechanic
- Assessment of your vehicle’s condition and the safety inspection report
- Fix any maintenance or repair issues
- Enjoy your travels
And, because you took our advice, your vehicle should be in tip-top road shape and ready to go. This article will focus specifically on how to drive in tough weather conditions and being prepared.
According to the Arizona Department of Transportation, some simple safe-driving tips can make the difference in keeping safe on slippery roads. Transportation officials suggest slowing down and leaving extra space between your vehicle and the one in front of you. With wet roads, stopping can take longer and applying the brakes too quickly can cause skidding.
If you find yourself behind a snow plow, stay there. It’s the safest place to be on snowy roads, but leave at the space of four vehicles between you and the plow.
As you pack for your trip, take everything you might need should you have to stay in your car if roads become impassable. Better to have more stuff than you need rather than no extra clothes or blankets when you desperately need them. Also, keep your gas tank half to three-quarters full, your cellphone charged and pack extra drinking water, snacks and any required medications.
An emergency road kit should have blankets, flashlight (with extra batteries!), an ice scraper, small shovel, a container of sand or cat litter in case you need traction and warning lights or reflectors.
If the weather forecast calls for extreme conditions, consider postponing your trip or finding a place to stay for a night. Highways can close suddenly in severe weather due to accumulating snow and ice or due to crashes. Staying put might be your safest option.
To find out the latest travel information for Arizona, call 511 or visit az511.gov for the latest traffic and road conditions.