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Friday, May 27, 2011

Staying safe on the road

Memorial Day weekend is here and if you’re headed out of town you probably have your travel plans all wrapped up by now.

Hopefully those plans already include some safety preparations … if not, here are a few things to think about before hitting the road!
  • Check out your vehicle’s condition before a trip. Inspect things like tire condition and pressure, oil and other fluid levels and inspect belts and hoses.
  • Pay attention while out on the road and expect the unexpected.
  • Get plenty of rest before traveling and take regular rest breaks.
  • Be patient and alert to changing road conditions … and buckle up!
  • If your vehicle breaks down or you need to change a flat tire, pull completely off the roadway. Be cautious in areas with taller grass or brush – hot vehicle components can spark a fire.
  • Don’t drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs (even prescription drugs can limit your ability to safely operate a motor vehicle).
  • Cell phones or satellite devices help in an emergency – make sure they are fully charged.
  • Obey the posted speed limit and check for changing speed limit conditions.
  • Signal in advance for lane changes and turning maneuvers.
  • Take plenty of food and water.
  • Slow down in areas known for high winds and dust storms and be prepared to exit the roadway if extreme weather conditions occur. Weather conditions can change and monsoon storms can arrive suddenly, creating dust-filled winds and cutting visibility along the highway up ahead.
It’s always a good idea to allow some extra travel time, too. Unscheduled closures due to crashes or other incidents, including wildfires, can affect highway travel. Existing work zones for highway improvement projects, even when work is not taking place over holiday weekends, can add time spent on the road.

A couple of existing highway work zones to be aware of – especially at the start and end of the Memorial Day weekend – are located along Interstate 10 at the Hassayampa River bridges 40 miles west of downtown Phoenix and at the Interstate 17 bridges at Munds Park 20 miles south of Flagstaff. The highways are narrowed to one lane in each direction at those locations.

One last thing … before your trip you can call 5-1-1 or log on to ADOT’s Traveler Information site at az511.gov to check on updated highway conditions around the state.
Posted by Angela DeWelles   |  Labels:  Dust-Storms, Hassayampa-Bridge, Holiday-Travel, I-10, I-17, Safety
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