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  1. Default Salem, Or to San Diego, Ca

    My girlfriend is driving from Salem, Or to San Diego, Ca on the 5. I am nervous because I've driven the route during the summer and I'm extremely nervous about her driving it during the winter, alone. She know's how to drive in the winter, being from Montana and Oregon. She is doing maitence on her car and learning how to put chains on her car. Other then that, what advice should I give her for winter driving?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Time, Time, Time

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    The main thing to keep in mind with winter driving is that it can take longer (sometimes MUCH longer) than at any other time of the year. One has to slow down anytime there is white stuff on the roadways, and should really be prepared to just pull off the road and spend a night curled up in a motel if things get really bad. Beyond those basics, we offer a number of tips on winter driving and links to real-time weather conditions. Our editor has also written this article which distills it all down. I suspect that your girlfriend already knows much of this, but a refresher is never out of order.


  3. Default Look at the clock and weather forecast

    Salem to San Diego? And down the I-5 I presume?

    I'd look at the weather forecast first -- if bad weather is forecast you might want to convince her to go a day or two later. The worst road conditions might be found between Grants Pass and Redding past Shasta, or coming up and over the Grapevine from Bakersfield to LA. My experience has been that if there are problems there they plow out and road and reopen it in a day -- so if the weather forecast is nasty, plan on starting a day later or so.

    The other section I'd be questionable about is the southern Central Valley of California, roughly between Buttonwillow and the Grapevine, which can sometimes get thick Tule fogs (visibility of 10' or less) and sometimes a freezing fog (puts a thin layer of ice on everything). In that case, go SLOW. Most of the time the fog lifts by mid morning, so its probably time to find a roadside fast food place and have breakfast and read the paper -- and by the time you get back on the road the conditions are a lot better.

    Secondly, try to hit the questionable sections of road in mid-day. That is, let the snow melt, let the fog lift, and let the sun come out before you drive over it. If she's leaving from Salem and has an overnight stop somewhere around Sacramento, she would be hitting the passes into California mid morning to afternoon -- which isn't bad. And then from Sacramento area to SD puts her over the grapevine at noon or thereabluts -- again a good time.

    Lastly -- traffic. If she's taking I-5 south, she'd be going through the midst of LA. She'll be on a 6-8 lane freeway of course, but she might end up hitting rush hour traffic. Just something to consider -- there are a couple of routes around most of the traffic, but its what she is confortable with more than anything else.

    For equipment and supplies -- just the usual I'd say. Chains for emergencies, and gloves and warm clothes for winter driving. A small ice chest for snacks and sodas. Maps of course. A cell phone -- cell phone coverage on this route is near 100% -- just so the driver doesn't chat on the phone in heavy traffic or nasty road conditions instead of watching the road. A credit card or some cash for emergencies (if you need to get towed, or you have mechanical problems). And a phone number list for emergencies -- AAA (if you are a member), parents, you, etc...

  4. Default

    thanks for the suggestions about weather conditions.

    as for traffic in los angeles. i've hit traffic on the 5 in LA at 3 AM on a weekend. its so unpredictable. it will be a good introduction to traffic in southern california. a trial by fire if you will. but i'll suggest she hit it before 4 or take the 210 to the 15.

    i was so worried about the mt. shasta region that i forgot about the grape vine. thanks for that.

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