See a crash ahead? Slow down and move over!
The Maricopa County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) recognizes the week of November 11 as National Traffic Incident Management Awareness Week.
Traffic incidents are responsible for nearly 60 percent of traffic delay on roadways and, according to statewide data, in 2017 there was vehicle crash approximately every four minutes in Arizona. Nearly half of these crashes involve injuries or fatalities. One in four crashes involving a fatality occurs at an intersection.
MCDOT reminds drivers to follow these simple tips when approaching and driving near a traffic incident:
- Slow down and move over: Arizona State Law requires motorists to move over or change lanes to allow approaching emergency vehicles with lights and sirens on to continue through. When approaching an incident on the roadway, move over as early as safely possible. Give responders plenty of space to do their jobs and always yield to emergency responders.
- Don’t stare: Once near an incident, keep focused on what’s ahead. Rubbernecking is a major cause of sudden slowing of traffic and secondary crashes.
- Avoid distractions: Conditions can change quickly during an incident. Put the phone down and avoid other distractions. Use a seatbelt and stay aware of surroundings.
MCDOT operates Maricopa County’s Regional Emergency Action Coordination Team (REACT) which provides on-call traffic management on arterial roads within Maricopa County and serving the cities of Avondale, Glendale, Peoria, Tolleson, Queen Creek and Scottsdale. The team responds 24 hours a day to incidents that may restrict or close a roadway for more than two hours.
The goals of the REACT program are to improve safety at an incident scene for everyone involved in the incident and to minimize the effect to the traveling public by providing traffic control to keep traffic moving. REACT will inform motorists of alternate routes, close traffic lanes and clear the roadway of vehicles and debris.
In the first nine months of 2018, REACT has responded to 116 incidents on valley roadways. The majority of REACT requests are to assist with vehicle crashes but other requests include wild land and house fires, homicide scenes, Haz Mat situations, criminal investigations and weather-related damage. On average, an incident lasts about five hours.