Focus is on safe driving, fire prevention for those taking to the road
Phoenix AZ (May 22, 2014) – In an effort to ease holiday travel, no state highway construction closures will be scheduled over the Memorial Day weekend, according to the Arizona Department of Transportation.
ADOT is joining other public safety agencies in urging motorists to stay alert and focus on safety when behind the wheel over the three-day weekend.
Ten people were killed in nine fatal crashes along highways and local streets in Arizona over the Memorial Day weekend a year ago, according to law enforcement figures provided to ADOT. Four of those fatal crashes were alcohol-related and claimed the lives of four people. The 10 deaths in 2013 were the highest number of fatalities over a Memorial Day weekend since 2008, when 17 people were killed.
Heavier traffic can be expected by Friday along highways leading toward weekend recreation spots, including Interstate 17 and State Route 87 north to the high country; I-10 and I-8 west toward California and US 60 east to Show Low and the White Mountains.
Drivers are encouraged to get an earlier start on travel if possible and to exercise patience, especially when sharing busy highways with other drivers on Friday and Monday. While no construction closures are scheduled along state highways, extra attention should be paid to locations with existing work zones.
ADOT, the Arizona Department of Public Safety, Governor’s Office of Highway Safety and firefighting agencies also are asking drivers to take steps to help prevent wildfires from starting along highways. That includes avoiding pulling over and parking in areas with grasses or brush that could burn due to hot components on the underside of a vehicle. Travelers also should make sure their vehicles are not dragging tow-chains or other items that could create sparks. ADOT is taking part in the “One Less Spark One Less Wildfire” public-awareness campaign to draw attention to steps drivers can take to help prevent blazes.
ADOT and DPS urge holiday travelers to follow these summertime safe-driving tips:
- Make sure to check your vehicle – including the condition of your tires. Proper tire pressure can reduce the risk of a blowout and improves gas mileage. Check oil and other fluid levels and inspect belts and hoses for wear.
- Expect the unexpected, including unscheduled road closures or restrictions due to crashes or other incidents.
- Get plenty of rest before traveling and take regular rest breaks. Fatigue is a serious safety risk.
- Buckle up and obey speed limits.
- Never drive while impaired by alcohol or drugs. Arrange for a designated driver in advance.
- Cell phones or GPS devices help in an emergency. Make sure they are fully-charged.
- Be prepared in case your vehicle breaks down. If you need to change a flat tire, pull completely off the roadway. However, please avoid stopping in areas with taller grass or brush because hot vehicle components can spark a fire.
- Pack extra drinking water and snacks.
- Be prepared for changing weather conditions. Storms and windy conditions can produce blowing dust.
Highway conditions are updated and can be checked on ADOT’s Traveler Information site at az511.gov or by calling 5-1-1 (the number outside Arizona is 1.888.411.ROAD). Additional ADOT updates are available via ADOT’s Twitter feed at twitter.com/ArizonaDOT or on Facebook at facebook.com/AZDOT.