Make sure you pack some patience and play it smart when heading out on the highways for Thanksgiving weekend.

Doing so could save your life, as last year’s was the deadliest Thanksgiving weekend on state highways and local roads in the past decade. The toll a year ago: 18 people killed, six of them in crashes involving impaired drivers.

The Arizona Department of Transportation and other safety agencies, including the Arizona Department of Public Safety and Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, are urging drivers to keep their speed in check, buckle up and avoid distractions, especially texting while driving.

To help holiday travelers and promote safety, ADOT won’t allow any construction-related closures along state highways over the Thanksgiving weekend. The agency will be working to help DPS, local fire and medical emergency agencies and towing companies respond to incidents along state highways as quickly as possible.

ADOT will position heavy equipment, trucks and crews at locations along several of the state’s busier travel highways starting Wednesday, Nov. 25. For example, equipment such as front loaders and incident-response trucks will be positioned along Interstate 17 in the Anthem area south of Black Canyon City, Interstate 10 near Queen Creek Road southeast of Phoenix and along State Route 87 at the Saguaro Lake turnoff north of Fountain Hills.

On ADOT’s electronic signs along highways, travelers will see messages about slowing down and driving sober.

Drivers also should get a good night’s rest before traveling, check their vehicles’ tire pressure and be prepared for unscheduled closures due to crashes or disabled vehicles. Staying up to date on weather conditions and packing an emergency preparedness kit, with items such as blankets, flashlights, extra clothes, drinking water and snack foods, is another smart idea.

For the latest highway conditions across Arizona, travelers can visit ADOT’s Travel Information site at or call 5-1-1 (outside Arizona call 1-888-411-ROAD). ADOT’s Twitter feed (@ArizonaDOT) also provides information about closures and highway conditions.

Additional information about winter driving, ADOT’s snowplows and items to include in an emergency kit can be found