ADOT's Know Snow campaign encourages Arizonans to be prepared for detrimental weather

ADOT's Know Snow campaign encourages Arizonans to be prepared for detrimental weather

  • Arizona Department of Transportation TowPlow plows snow out of roadway
Arizona Department of Transportation's TowPlow clears snow on roadway

Arizona is known for sunny days, cacti, and monsoon storms in the searing summer months. Most people don’t realize that serious winter weather affects parts of the Grand Canyon state as well. It can be a danger to those unprepared for it.

Winter storms bring strong winds, freezing rains, ice, sleet and treacherously low temperatures.

Wind-driven blizzards can drop an excess of snow, immobilizing an entire area.

While certain regions in Arizona are more susceptible to extreme winter weather, all Arizonans need to be prepared. Knowing what to do in snow, sleet and the bitter cold can help keep one safe.

The Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) provides information to the public to ensure they are safe while driving during the winter season. The Know Snow campaign urges motorists to be safe driving on snowy roads and to use caution around snowplows.

Ryan Harding, ADOT Public Information Officer, explains how drivers can prepare themselves for driving during inclement weather. “ADOT has prepared for winter and we want drivers to do the same. That includes slowing down, leaving extra room behind the next vehicle, taking warm clothing, blankets, food and water, and packing an emergency kit,” he says. “It also means staying apprised of weather conditions and being ready to postpone travel so ADOT's snowplows can clear roadways.”

A key part of ADOT’s campaign is to warn drivers to watch out for snowplows, giving them plenty of room to work on clearing the roads.

“It's very important for drivers to watch out for snowplows and give them room to work and clear the snow and ice off of the highways,” Harding said. “Stay back at least four car lengths. Avoid passing a snowplow that's clearing a highway until the driver pulls over to let traffic pass.”

Harding reminds travelers that highway shoulders are for emergencies only, meaning no pulling off to the side of the highway to play in the snow.

“This is very dangerous as it distracts other drivers and can interfere with first responders who may need to use the shoulder,” Harding said.

Harding reminds drivers to call 5-1-1, visit ADOT's Arizona Traveler Information site at, or use their free app (download at for the latest highway conditions around the state.

DEMA’s Public Information Office echoes safety messages and helps promote the education campaigns of its partner agencies.

“We have the same goal as the agencies we partner with, to keep the public safe and informed,” Judy Kioski, DEMA’s Lead PIO explains. “By sharing messages, we ensure the information will reach the widest audience.”

DEMA’s Arizona Emergency Information Network (AzEIN) provides tips on many hazards that can affect Arizona, including winter weather and winter storm preparedness.. Followers can also visit AzEIN Facebook and Twitter for helpful tips on how to winterize your home and vehicle.

A basic preparedness step is to write a family evacuation and communication plan that details family meeting places, important phone numbers and an out-of-town contact.

Each family should have an emergency supplies kit, food, water, medicine and other supplies to last 72 hours, including one for the car (and adding more supplies when traveling into snowy areas).

Ensuring preparedness is worth the time in case travelers do encounter winter weather.