Contributed Photo/Courtesy ADOT
Plan for hot weather, and expect the unexpected if taking a road trip
Drivers should monitor weather forecasts, check their vehicles, and pack an emergency travel kit if heading out on a Memorial Day weekend trip, according to the Arizona Department of Transportation.
The good news for drivers is that ADOT and its contractors are not scheduling any full construction or maintenance closures along state highways from Friday afternoon, May 26, through Monday night, May 29, to limit impacts on holiday weekend travel.
ADOT still recommends an early start and extra time, especially during peak travel periods. Motorists should be prepared for unscheduled highway closures due to crashes, disabled vehicles, or other incidents such as wildfires.
An emergency prep kit for your vehicle should include extra drinking water and other items including blankets, a first-aid kit, a flashlight, extra batteries, a fully charged cellphone and charger, snacks, diapers if necessary, and a small tool kit.
Since travel delays are possible, don’t forget other important items such as prescription medicines. A hat, sunglasses, and umbrella – to help with rain or shade – also are good items to remember as the annual summer travel season gets underway.
Be prepared for changing weather conditions, including blowing dust. ADOT’s holiday weekend safe driving recommendations include:
- Never drive while impaired. Buckle up and obey speed limits
- Arrange for a designated driver or ride service if necessary
- Check your vehicle, including tire pressure
- Get some rest before traveling. Fatigue is a serious safety risk
- Avoid distractions. Don’t text while driving
- Don’t park in areas with grasses and brush. Hot vehicle components could start a fire
Drivers should be prepared to slow down and move over if ADOT workers and other first responders are along state highways. In addition to on-call statewide maintenance crews, the ADOT Incident Response Unit (IRU), sponsored by GEICO, patrols Phoenix-area freeways in Maricopa County from 4 a.m. to midnight on weekdays and from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekends. The IRU operators assist state troopers as well as drivers in need of help. More information about ADOT IRU can be found on the ADOT website.
Motorists also should slow down and merge safely when approaching and traveling through existing work zones.