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  1. Default Chicago to SanDiego after Christmas

    I'm planning for a road trip from Chicago to San Diego probably right after Christmas. Can you suggest the best routes for winter driving? I am a bit afraid of winter driving, ice and mountain roads. As many flat and safe roads would be best.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default "safe"

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    All of the interstates are built to specific standards that limit curves and grades, and they all get top priority during winter weather. As long as you are driving safely, then any interstate is perfectly safe.

    There is also no one size fits all route that will be weather free in late December. Any route between Chicago and San Diego will be at risk of snow and/or ice. About the best you can do is to check the forecast just before you go, and see which option looks like it would be the least likely to be seeing storms during the time you will be traveling.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default And here are some tips for safe winter driving

    You really need to plan for ice and snow that time of year. Here are some proven tips for safe winter driving.

    Mark

  4. #4

    Default Best winter route

    Mongol,
    There is certainly a chance for snow at this time of year. You just have to be prepared for it. Make sure your car is safe to drive in winter conditions. If possible, leave an extra day or two so that you can slow down or stop if weather turns rough. Watch TV weather and check the internet--be ready to reroute a bit if needed.

    If you are worried about a combination of mountains and winter weather you should probably skip the I70 and I80 routes west, they will take you through Colorado, Wyoming, Utah and this means high elevations.

    If I were you, I would go Southwest to St Louis on I55, then take I44 to Oklahoma City and hit I40 West to California. It could snow here too, but it's less likely than further North!
    Have a good trip.
    Last edited by Midwest Michael; 11-30-2008 at 09:38 PM. Reason: Thread Continunity

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default Not exactly

    Quote Originally Posted by erikw89 View Post
    If you are worried about a combination of mountains and winter weather you should probably skip the I70 and I80 routes west, they will take you through Colorado, Wyoming, Utah and this means high elevations.
    checking weather reports is an excellent idea, but it should be noted that I-40 through Arizona and New Mexico maintains roughly the same elevation as I-80 through Wyoming.

    If I were you, I would go Southwest to St Louis on I55, then take I44 to Oklahoma City and hit I40 West to California. It could snow here too, but it's less likely than further North!
    Less likely to hit snow is a little misleading here. You are less likely to see snow on the southern plains, however, you are actually more likely to run into an ice storm.
    Last edited by Midwest Michael; 11-24-2008 at 05:10 PM. Reason: fixed format

  6. Default

    The old US66 route is the best. I-55 to I-44 to I-40. Plus, there's a lot of niche stuff to see along the way from the old highway.

    But yeah, Arizona and New Mexico is always a possibility for snow on I-40. Especially near Albuquerque and up on Flagstaff and the hill west of there.

    Sykotyk

  7. Default

    Thanks much for the road advice. I appreciate it and it will really help me be a wise winter driver!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    I travel from Joplin MO to San Diego each winter. I start out on I-44 to I-40, and keep an eye on the weather. The fastest way is I-40 to Flagstaff, then I-17 to Phoenix, AZ-101 around the west side to I-10, then AZ-85 to I-8. This avoids LA area traffic that you would get if you stayed on I-40 to I-15, and it's about 40 miles shorter. Last winter, I checked on the weather when I stopped in Albuquerque and found that it was snowing in Flagstaff. I took I-25 south to Hatch, NM, then NM-26 to Deming and picked up I-10 to I-8. This did add about 50 miles to the trip. The same storm was dumping rain on Phoenix. I-8 can get dicey up over the mountains west of El Centro almost all the way to San Diego.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    The Great Midwest, Illinois to be precise
    Posts
    527

    Default And, Of Course, the Mother Road

    Stop along Route 66 and see an America of the past. You can always get back on the interstate if you lose too much time looking at things.

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