Safety Tips in Arizona

  • Warnings and Dangers
    by Yaqui
  • A walkway with gravel, be careful.
    A walkway with gravel, be careful.
    by Yaqui
  • Warnings and Dangers
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Most Viewed Warnings and Dangers in Arizona

  • grandmaR's Profile Photo

    Teddy Bear Cholla

    by grandmaR Updated Apr 4, 2011

    My dad was fascinated by this cactus, so we stopped to take pictures. We called it a Teddy Bear Cactus, but on looking it up I see that it is a type of Cholla.

    It was named for its furry "cuddly" appearance but up close and personal, it is a densely spined plant which you will be sorry if you try to hug it. The dense covering of spines shields the stem from exposure to intense sunlight.

    The plants grow 3 to 5 feet tall, and their many short branches are readily detached by animals or even wind and then take root in the soil. In fact, this is the main method of propagation of this species of cholla - the plants do produce flowers and fruits but the seeds are usually sterile. Sometimes whole hillsides can be covered with a forest of these plants, all derived from fallen, rooted branches. So don't feel bad if you break a piece off - you will be helping the plant to spread itself around.

    Teddy bear cholla is widespread and abundant in the lower, warmer parts of the Mojave Desert and in the Sonoran Desert of Arizona and Mexico.

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  • kymbanm's Profile Photo

    Keep track of weather conditions ....

    by kymbanm Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    This is about a spot along I-40 that is actually in New Mexico - but can impact your day in Arizona :)

    There is acerage along I-40 near Grants and Milan New Mexico that closes down during high winds. Because of the drought of the last decade - high winds create blackout conditions from sand and dirt. In 2004, several severe pile ups lead to traffic deaths in this region. So now, the State Police of New Mexico actually close down this stretch of the freeway to all motorists. This blockade lasts for only a few hours during the windstorm - which are pretty frequent out here in the southwest during spring and fall.

    How does this relate to driving through Arizona? Well, if you watch weather and road conditions while traveling - and see the risk of a delay later on down the road ... just take the extra time to wander the roadside attractions and wander to where all those roadside billboards point.

    Afterall, it makes more sense than sitting in a traffic jam further down the road ......

    What a REAL dust storm looks like :)
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  • jumpingnorman's Profile Photo

    Beware of Rattlesnakes! They bite!

    by jumpingnorman Updated Jun 1, 2009

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    You hear those horror stories of rattlesnakes and well, unfortunately, it is true that people do get bitten, specially those who swerve away from the paved paths. So, be very careful not to go into the bushes --- I once saw a lady Japanese tourist (very nice smiling lady with whom I exchanged Konichiwa earlier) go into the cacti (with stone hidings underneath which are perfect for snakes) for a kodak moment (she even crouched down and her butt could have been bitten! not to mention hitting the cacti spikes!).

    And just in case it happens, here are the current guidelines:
    1. Reassure the victim, specially 70% of all snakebites are by non-venomous snakes and 50% of bites by venomous species are dry bites . Loosen or remove restrictive clothing/jewelry.

    2. Immobilize the affected limb (by bandage or clothes to hold splint, but tight arterial compression is not recommended) . Don't make cuts over the bite, don't suck it, don't use torniuets, don't put the bite in ice water, don't elevate the bitten part (venom goes quicker to your heart) and don't RUN (speeds up your circulation). Keep Calm.

    3. Promptly transfer of victim to hospital

    So once again:

    It is now NOT recommended to make local incisions or "tattooing" at the site of the bite, suctioning venom out of the wound, using tight bands (tourniquets) around the limb, and/or local application of ice packs. These are discouraged as they do more harm than good by increasing absorption of the venom and delaying transport to a medical facility.

    My 4 year-old son avoiding snakes in Arizona trail
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  • jumpingnorman's Profile Photo

    Killer Bees in Desert Southwest

    by jumpingnorman Written Jun 1, 2009

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    Yes, this is a warning for hikers in the Desert Southwest - Killer Bees! Don't wear bright colored garments and NO SCENTS - some even say you should not have scented deodorants! If you see those killer bees, the best solution is to LEAVE THE AREA! Do not go and swat the bees or smash them -- they will just go on an attack mode because the smached bees will put out a scent.

    The bees tend to attack the head - so cover your head and RUN! There are actually some hats with built-in protective netting. If not, just pull your shirt over your head...(kinda like Girls Gone Wild, I guess).

    Even jumping in the water might not help because the bees might wait for you to come up. But it is advised that if you do get stings, scrape off the stingers with credit cards - don't pinch them off because the squeezing just puts more toxin into you. And better still, more than 15 stings needs a visit to the doctor and even just one sting if you have difficulty of breathing or other local pain and swelling. Better be safe than sorry...

    Wife/twins by giant Jolly Bee in San Francisco, CA
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  • jumpingnorman's Profile Photo

    Don't be shy to bring HUGE umbrella around Arizona

    by jumpingnorman Updated Mar 15, 2009

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    You have heard this several times --- protect yourself from the sun! Sunblock, caps, and sunglasses to protect your retina!

    Specially people who have had lasik surgery might find the brightness a bit straining on the eyes (sensitivity of retina to light). So, very good sunglasses are essential (besides polaroid shades sometimes bring out the color of the rocks better)

    Since we travel with our kids and they are sensitive to the rays of the beautiful sun, we are not ashamed to bring our tent-sized golf umbrellas, hehehe...shade is hard to find when you are walking around the great views of the canyon, and so you have to bring your own shade (umbrella). And bring a sturdy one because it the wind is strong, you don't want a weak umbrella...

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  • Basaic's Profile Photo

    Danger Along the Arizona/Mexico Border

    by Basaic Written Oct 30, 2007

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    There is a sign at the entrance to the Coronado National Memorial warning about illegal immigrant and drug smuggler traffic through the park. Remember, you are right on the border. Pay attention to your surroundings, avoid traveling alone, and if you see anyone that doesn't belong avoid them and report them. It is easy to tell immigrants from drug smugglers. Illegal immigrants frequently include women and children. Drug Smugglers are mostly men and are better armed. This applies to almost ever location along the border.

    Warning Sign
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  • Basaic's Profile Photo

    Stay in Designated Areas

    by Basaic Updated Aug 15, 2007

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    To help preserve the natural beauty of Arizona please stay in designated areas and only walk on designated trails. Remember that it is prohibited to remove any fossils, petrified wood, rocks, or other natural resources from the park. The trails are also safer because they decrease your chances of running across harmful animals or other situations. If you walk through overgrown areas you may meet a rattler.

    Viewing Area
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  • Basaic's Profile Photo

    Open Mine Pits

    by Basaic Written Aug 15, 2007

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    Mining was, and still is, a major activity in Arizona. There are open mine shafts all over the state. Do not approach the mine shafts. If there is a barrier obey them. The area close to the edge of the shaft is unsteady and can fall away.

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  • Basaic's Profile Photo

    Where Do I Rest?

    by Basaic Written Aug 15, 2007

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    Arizona has a lot of desert trails you can hike on. Sometimes there is very little shade along these trails. Some of the trails have little benches or rocks you can sit on, some don't. I would not sit on this one because when it is overgrown like in this picture it is a good way to get bit on the butt by a rattler.

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  • Basaic's Profile Photo

    Obey the Signs

    by Basaic Written Aug 15, 2007

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    You should pay attention to these signs. There are sometimes places where the water flows across the road during monsoon season. The water can be deeper than it looks and can flow very quickly. The water can also be a indicator of a coming flash flood. Please obey the signs. Apparently someone was angry at this sign. See the bulletholes?

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  • AVG2319's Profile Photo

    It is HOT, so Drink more than usual

    by AVG2319 Updated Jul 19, 2007

    The main mistake tourists make here is WATER -drink lots of it !! especially if you are hiking, biking,etc
    The fact that you are not sweating, doesn't mean you don't need fluids replenished.
    Do Not hike up a mountain without water! Just because it is cool in the morning, doesn't mean it won't be hot by 10:00
    There is a so called "Stupid people" rule here in AZ. You do something stupid, you have to be rescued, you may get fined by the city for the cost of the rescue. So have fun, but don't be dumb :-)
    Every year tourists get stuck up on the mountains and have to be rescued or lost and pass out because they bring no water with them or worse yet they die. Drink A LOT of Water, especially if you are not use to the heat.

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  • Basaic's Profile Photo

    Bark Scorpions

    by Basaic Written Jul 12, 2007

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    One of the common hazards you may run into in Arizona is the bark scorpion. The typical "bark" or "crevice" scorpion is encountered in a variety of situations. It is most commonly found under rocks, logs, tree bark, and other surface objects. The bark scorpion (1-3 inches in length) is the most commonly encountered house scorpion. They are common throughout many habitats but almost always in rocky areas. Most scorpion species are solitary in nature. The exception to this is bark scorpions, which may over-winter in aggregates of 20-30. The bark scorpion is also one of relatively few species that are able climbers.

    The venom of the bark scorpion may produce severe pain (but rarely swelling) at the site of the sting, numbness, frothing at the mouth, difficulties in breathing (including respiratory paralysis), muscle twitching, and convulsions. Death is rare, especially in more recent times. Antivenin is available for severe cases. Certain people, however, may be allergic to the venom and can experience life-threatening side effects when stung (as occurs with bee stings). No cases of anaphylaxis have been reported in Arizona.

    Bark Scorpion
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  • AnnemieB's Profile Photo

    There are a few things to be...

    by AnnemieB Updated Feb 10, 2007

    There are a few things to be aware off here: first of all the heat, it's very hot, so don't start a long hike without any water.
    At Monument Valley you can go horseback riding with the Navajos, this is a lot of fun, but they ride pretty carelessly. I'd never been on a horse before and it was pretty wild and I enjoyed it, but not for the faint-hearted!
    Beware of the showers in Monument Valley, they're the type that eat coins. Also, when it turns on, be prepared, because it can blast you agains the next wall (talk about pressure!!). PS: this was in 1996, things might have improved : )

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  • bocmaxima's Profile Photo

    the border

    by bocmaxima Written Aug 27, 2006

    Although incredibly hyped up in the national media, you still must be weary of the border.
    When close to it, be sure to lock your car if leaving for an extended period, and either hide valuables within it or take them with you (basically take the precautions you would normally take in an urban environment).
    Trash is quite common in the area and is an eyesore, especially within two miles of the border. It mostly includes water bottles, clothing and food containers.
    Camping along the border should be done only in clustered groups. In Arizona, this includes everything south of State Highway 86 west of Tucson, south of Interstate 10 east Tucson and south of State Highway 90 and Sierra Vista.
    The forest service has put up warning signs along its stretch of the Arizona-Sonora line warning people of the potential dangers. If you come across illegal aliens either during the day or at night, just leave them be. Don't try to be some sort of vigilante and catch them. Normally, the Border Patrol will let groups of immigrants get a distance across the border before attempting to apprehend them, so just leave it to the professionals.

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  • bocmaxima's Profile Photo

    rural road gates

    by bocmaxima Written Aug 27, 2006

    Some of the best and most interesting sites in the state are only accessible via dirt road. It adds to Arizona's ambiance and scares many of the more gawky tourists away.
    Quite often, on some of the more rural dirt roads in the state, you'll come across gates blocking the road to otherwise public lands. This often indicates that you're crossing private land, but you should not let them intimidate you necessarily.
    Roads crossing private land on their way to public land are often gated to prevent livestock from entering or exiting the property. More often than not, these gates are unlocked, and simply require you to exit your car, unloop a hinge from a fencepost, open the gate and drive through. But always remember to CLOSE THE GATE BEHIND YOU. There are usually signs posted at these gates indicating the restrictions within. Be respectful. Usually it's something as simple as "No hunting, no shooting near buildings" and sometimes "Drive slowly."
    Another type of gate in Arizona is the entrance to State Trust lands. These are public lands, but have restrictions placed on them (namely prohibiting hunting). These gates normally appear like a part of the fence, but can actually be unlooped and pulled open.
    The laws are rather liberal in the state regarding locked gates on roads crossing private land to reach public land. It is rare but it does happen. Often locked gates will be accompanied by clear "No Trespassing" signs indicating the intention behind the lock. If you come across a locked gate, you have little recourse than to turn around and find somewhere else to go.
    Don't let gates intimidate you and keep you from otherwise enjoying the beautiful public land in the state. But please remember to be respectful.

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