NewsOperation Safe Roads


Spike strips to stop wrong-way drivers: why ADOT says they won't work

Wrong-way crashes in Phoenix: When, where they have occurred in 2018
Posted at 5:00 AM, Mar 23, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-24 12:16:05-04

PHOENIX — Imagine coming face-to-face with a wrong-way driver. It could happen to anyone.

The Valley had 38 media-reported wrong-way incidents on freeways in 2019, 16 in 2020, 32 in 2021, and eight so far in 2022.

So, how do you stop it?

ABC15 went to the Arizona Department of Transportation with viewer suggestions on how to stop this deadly epidemic.

Many Valley residents suggested the same thing: spike strips, but ADOT said, not so fast!

Here are a number of reasons why ADOT says spikes won't work:

  • No available system is designed for speeds faster than 5 mph.
  • Not for use in high-volume traffic.
  • Not guaranteed to blow the tires of vehicles traveling at high speeds.
  • Can break, leaving stubs that damage tires of vehicles traveling in the right direction.
  • Cause drivers going in the right direction to see the spikes as a road hazard, causing brake lights, slow traffic, and backups.
  • Dangerous to motorcycles and small cars.
  • Prone to getting clogged with dirt and snow.
  • Slippery when wet.
  • Require excessive maintenance - must be visually monitored and maintained 24 hours a day, seven days a week to ensure safe operation.
  • Failure of the nationally accepted traffic control device guidelines.

ADOT also says the department isn't alone in this assessment and they have found no place in the world where spikes are used on highway systems.

If you have an idea about how to make our streets safer, we want to hear about it! Just send us an e-mail at or call our toll-free hotline: (833)-AZROADS