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Safety Tips for Labor Day Road Trips

by Staff
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With the forecast calling for lower temperatures but also possible monsoon weather, the Arizona Department of Transportation advises drivers to prepare for heavier traffic on state highways over Labor Day Weekend.

ADOT and its contractors will not schedule any full construction closures along state highways from Friday afternoon, Sept. 1, to early Tuesday morning, Sept. 5. Highways that lead to the high country, beaches, and destinations such as Las Vegas are expected to be busy on both Friday and Monday afternoons.

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Drivers should allow extra travel time and expect the unexpected while being alert to highway conditions, including slowing or stopped traffic due to crashes, debris, disabled vehicles, or other events, including wildfires. ADOT has information about preparing for a summer road trip at azdot.gov/Severe-Weather.

ADOT and the state Department of Public Safety, along with other emergency agencies, also encourage motorists to check their vehicles, pack their patience, and avoid impaired driving of any kind.

ADOT’s 15-member Incident Response Unit (IRU) vehicles, sponsored by GEICO, will be operating on Phoenix-area freeways, including peak travel times, over the holiday weekend. The trained IRU members can assist stranded motorists, help clear travel lanes when crashes or lost loads occur, and perform other safety-related functions.

Drivers also should be aware of existing highway work zones. For example, southbound I-17 is narrowed to one lane in areas along the 30-mile stretch south of Flagstaff for an ongoing pavement improvement project. Expect delays during peak travel times over the holiday weekend.

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.
  • An emergency prep kit for your vehicle can include extra drinking water and other items such as blankets, a first aid kit, a flashlight, extra batteries, a fully charged cellphone and charger, snacks, and a small tool kit.
  • 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.
  • Don’t let trailer chains drag. Sparks could ignite a wildfire.

Since travel delays over the weekend are possible, don’t forget other important items such as prescription medicines. A hat, sunglasses, and umbrella – to help with rain or provide shade – also are good items to remember as the traditional summer travel season winds down.

Real-time highway conditions are available on ADOT’s Arizona Traveler Information site at az511.gov and the AZ511 app. ADOT also provides highway condition updates via its Twitter/X feed, @ArizonaDOT.

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