(JUNEAU, Alaska) – With areas of the state forecast to see winter weather, the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (ADOT&PF) reminds drivers to be prepared for winter driving and offers tips to help you have a safe commute.
Drivers can follow four tips for a safe winter commute. First, be sure to give yourself extra time to reach your destination. If you have the option, consider staying home until roads are cleared and sanded. Second, be sure to clear off all the snow and ice from the outside of your vehicle. Don’t forget mirrors, windows, lights and both windshields. Third, turn on your vehicle’s headlights before getting on the road. Be sure to use turn signals, too; this is especially important when visibility is poor. Finally, always allow more room between you and the vehicle in front of you. This gives you time to react if you encounter unexpected conditions.
Each winter, ADOT&PF maximizes its resources to meet the provided operating budget. This winter will be no different. However, response time to all routes may take longer depending on the severity of the winter storm.
ADOT&PF follows a systematic approach to clear Alaska’s roads of snow and ice by categorizing every state-maintained road as one of five priority levels. Each level is based on traffic volume, speed, and connections to communities and other roads within the local transportation network.
Priority 1 roads will receive the most winter maintenance, followed by Priority 2, Priority 3 and, finally, Priority 4. Priority 5 roads do not receive winter maintenance. The five priority levels are defined as:
- Priority Level 1: high-volume, high-speed highways, expressways, minor highways, all safety corridors and other major urban and community routes.
- Priority Level 2: routes of lesser priority based on traffic volume, speeds and uses. Typically, these are major highways and arterials connecting communities.
- Priority Level 3: major local roads or collector roads located in larger urban communities.
- Priority Level 4: minor local roads that provide residential or recreational access.
- Priority Level 5: roadways that are designated as “No Winter Maintenance” routes, e.g. Denali Highway or Taylor Highway.
ADOT&PF reminds drivers to prepare for safe winter travel and to drive according to road and weather conditions. Remember, posted speed limits are for dry pavement. Drivers can access real-time travel information by visiting 511.Alaska.Gov or dialing 5-1-1.