NewsOperation Safe Roads


Will spike strips stop wrong-way drivers? ADOT responds to suggestions

Posted at 3:31 PM, Jun 18, 2018

As wrong-way driving on Valley freeways continues to be a major issue, ABC15 went to ADOT with viewer suggestions on how to stop this deadly epidemic.

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

The Valley had 38 wrong-way incidents reported on freeways in 2019.

So, how do you stop it?

ABC15 asked for your solutions and many 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 to safe operation.
  • Failure of the nationally accepted traffic control device guidelines.
  • ADOT isn't alone in this assessment. We've found no place in the world where spikes are used on highway systems.

Another ABC15 viewer told us, "Wrong-way drivers really don't read the signs. But, they do look at the road. My idea is to paint the exit with yellow lines or x's." 

It's a good idea. In fact, it's one that ADOT is working on already! Larger, lower "Wrong Way" signs have been installed on many ramps, so it's eye level with impaired drivers.

In addition, ADOT said they've put big, "right way" arrows on the pavement, with reflectors that glow red from the headlights of a wrong-way driver.

Another ABC15 viewer suggested flashing "Do Not Enter" signs like they have in San Diego. ADOT told us, "The wrong-way detection system being tested on the I-17 in Phoenix takes that idea a step further by illuminating the sign from within and surrounding it with flashing LED's."  

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