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ADOT: Tips on winter storm driving in Ariz.

Frank Van Buren, the manager of a travel center, gives direction to semi-truck drivers who are pulling off Interstate 40 in Bellemont, Arizona, on Thursday, Feb. 21, 2019. Feb. 21, 2019. Schools across northern Arizona canceled classes and some government offices decided to close amid a winter storm that's expected to dump heavy snow in the region. (AP Photo/Felicia Fonseca)

Frank Van Buren, the manager of a travel center, gives direction to semi-truck drivers who are pulling off Interstate 40 in Bellemont, Arizona, on Thursday, Feb. 21, 2019. Feb. 21, 2019. Schools across northern Arizona canceled classes and some government offices decided to close amid a winter storm that's expected to dump heavy snow in the region. (AP Photo/Felicia Fonseca)

With a major winter storm forecast by the National Weather Service to create “difficult to impossible” driving conditions in Arizona’s high country while dumping heavy rain elsewhere this week, drivers should heed this warning by leaving prepared, slowing down and being ready to put off travel if snow is still falling Friday.

During heavy snowfall, stretches of Interstate 17 and Interstate 40 at higher altitudes can close due to poor conditions, slide-offs and crashes.

Drivers who decide against delaying travel Friday if conditions worsen should be prepared to spend more time on the roads than usual and, in case they become stranded, pack an emergency kit with items like extra blankets, warm clothes, food and water, sand or cat litter for traction, a first-aid kit and a fully charged cellphone.

With 200 snowplows ready to clear snow and ice around the state, the Arizona Department of Transportation’s first priority during major storms is maintaining travel on the most heavily traveled corridors, meaning it may take some time for plows to address lesser-used highways.

For more winter-driving tips from ADOT, please visit azdot.gov/KnowSnow.

Before deciding whether and when to travel, check weather reports and get the latest highway conditions by visiting ADOT’s Arizona Traveler Information site at az511.gov, calling 511 or reviewing ADOT’s Twitter feed (@ArizonaDOT(link is external)).

When a freeway closure or other major traffic event occurs, a free app available at ADOTAlerts.com will send critical information directly to app users in affected areas — where possible, in advance, of alternate routes.

ADOT crews are ready to plow snow and ice on highways, but it can still be hazardous to drive in a storm where visibility and road surface conditions can change quickly.

Drivers can help out plow operators by never passing a snowplow that’s clearing a highway until the driver pulls over to let traffic pass.

Make sure to slow down and drive for the conditions you’re in. Be sure to leave extra room between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you.

Information provided by the Arizona Department of Transportation.

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