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Snow to hit highways in Arizona's high country

With winter weather in the forecast starting Thursday, motorists should be ready to make smart decisions when it comes to high-country roads that can become slick with snow and ice. That includes being ready to put off travel while snow is falling so the Arizona Department of Transportation's plows can clear highways.

Snow can accumulate quickly, leading to slide-offs and crashes involving vehicles and drivers unprepared for the conditions. That in turn makes it more difficult for ADOT's snowplow operators to do their jobs.

Motorists should follow weather reports and check highway conditions by calling 511, visiting az511.gov&or following @ArizonaDOT&on Twitter. ADOT also provides a free mobile app for iOS and Android that sends critical information on major highway closures as well as alternate routes. It's available at ADOTAlerts.com.

If delaying travel isn't possible when snow is falling, leave prepared for the possibility that you will be delayed or even stranded. Wear warm clothing and pack an emergency kit that includes blankets, healthy snacks, water, cat litter or sand for traction, a first-aid kit including all necessary medications and a fully charged cellphone. Make sure your vehicle is in good working condition and consider using snow tires, chains or studded tires.

Above all, slow down and leave extra room between your vehicle and the vehicle ahead.

Give ADOT's snowplows plenty of room to work, and avoid passing a plow until the driver pulls over to let traffic by. Watch for snowplows operating in multiple lanes or in tandem. And remember: The safest place on a highway when it's snowing is trailing a safe distance – at least four car lengths – behind a snowplow.

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

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