State drivers reminded to be avalanche aware this winter


November 23, 2017 | View PDF

November is Avalanche Education Awareness month and the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (ADOT&PF) wants Alaska’s drivers to be aware of avalanche zones as they travel the state’s highways this winter.

“Our goal is to improve safety for highway users by reducing avalanche hazards while minimizing avalanche related traffic delays and road closures,” said Jim Kennedy, ADOT&PF avalanche specialist. “We want Alaskans to be alert to avalanche area highway signs and stay safe when traveling.”

Avalanche areas exist across Alaska. ADOT&PF avalanche specialists monitor highway avalanche risk by tracking weather, terrain and snowpack conditions. Common conditions that increase avalanche hazards include significant amounts of new snow or rain, strong winds and rapid changes in temperature.

ADOT&PF recommends the following practices for drivers traveling in avalanche prone areas:

• Check or call 511 for current road conditions before traveling.

• Do not stop in avalanche areas.

• Always travel with emergency supplies in case of extended road closures.

• Expect delays when ADOT&PF is conducting avalanche hazard reduction work.

• If a driver encounters an avalanche affecting the highway, ADOT&PF recommends:

• Do not step outside the vehicle.

• Do not attempt to drive through the avalanche debris, regardless of size.

• Drive away immediately to a safe location outside the avalanche zone.

• Call 911 and report the avalanche to Alaska State Troopers.


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