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Add this to your snow-play safety checklist: Don’t park along highways


PHOENIX – Warm clothing and blankets? Check. Plenty of gas in the tank, fully charged cellphone, drinking water? Check, check, check.

The Arizona Department of Transportation is asking those headed up north to see the snow to add an item to their safety checklists: Don’t park along highways. Travelers need to stop in designated parking areas.

Highway shoulders are for emergencies, and parking on them to play in the snow is hazardous in several ways:
Other drivers may be distracted by your vehicle. 
Other drivers may pull over as well to play in the snow, compounding the problem.
Your vehicle may interfere with first responders who need to use the shoulder.
Plows can throw snow and ice far off highways.
It’s much safer to re-enter highways from on-ramps and other designated entrances.

Traffic is expected to continue to be heavy on weekends, as many travelers head north to the snow. Those making the trip should allow for extra travel time and prepare as they would for any extended period in snowy, icy, or cold areas. For more tips on preparing for travel in snow country, visit

To avoid congestion heading home through Flagstaff, consider taking a marked alternate route offering a more direct path to Interstate 17, via the Interstate 40 Butler Avenue interchange. Check highway conditions before you leave. The ADOT Traveler Information Center, available at or by calling 511, is an excellent source of up-to-date traffic information, as is ADOT’s Twitter account: @ArizonaDOT.