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  1. Default From Dallas to Toronto

    We are planing on the road trip from Dallas to Toronto end of December. My concern is weather. Has anyone taken this trip in winter ? which is the best route? Would appreciate any tips on this .

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    The best route would keep you away from the normal lake effect snow areas. I would recommend the following:

    I-30 to Little Rock, I-40 to West Memphis, I-55 to Sikeston, I-57 to Effingham, I-70 to Indy, I-69 to Port Huron/Sarnia, 402 to London, 401 to Toronto.

    Note - 402 can be affected by lake effect, if conditions are not good, take I-94 into Detroit and cross there at the bridge (very busy, unfortunately) and take 401 all the way.

    This is a 1500 mile trip, 3 days recommended.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Time, Time, Time...and distance

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    As with ANY drive in winter, the 'best' route (weather and driving wise) always has the following attributes:

    1) It is as short as possible, leaving you at the mercy of the weather as little as possible.

    2) It follows the Interstates and major freeways as much as possible, since these are the roads that get the most attention by road crews during and immediately after a storm.

    3) You check on the weather forecasts) for the last couple of days prior to your departure to determine if adverse weather will affect your drive and determine if an alternate route is preferable.

    4) You build extra time into your itinerary/agenda just in case 1), 2) and 3) don't work out as expected.

    If I were planning the drive you envision, I would initially expect to use I-30/I-40 to Memphis; I-55/I-57 to Effingham, IL; I-70 to Indianapolis; I-69 to Sarnia,ON; and ON-402/ON-401 into Toronto. But I'd also have a backup plan using I-40 from Memphis to Knoxville; I-81 to Wytheville, VA; I-77 and/or I-79 to I-90 at Lake Erie; I-90 to Buffalo; and the QEW to Toronto. Both of those routes could be driven in three days in good weather, so I'd budget 4.


  4. Default From Dallas to Toronto

    AZBuck and GLC - thanks for your replies. My concern is - are the roads safe to drive in winter? We are 2 drivers and time is not an issue we could have a extra day stopover if required. Also we are relocating to Toronto for a year so we will be driving a UHaul truck. Since my wife is with me I want to make doubly sure that the hotels we stay at for the night are safe.

    I really appreciate any experience you may have had personally driving in winter conditions along these routes.

    Thanks and regards,

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default The road does not a safe or dangerous trip make

    I never really know what answer people expect when they ask "are roads safe to drive in the winter"

    Every day, all year (including winter) long, there are thousands of people using every interstate highway in the country. The American transportation system doesn't shut down between the months of December and Febrary.

    As Buck mentioned, Interstates get the top priority during a winter weather event, so they will generally be in the best shape, and if things do get really bad, state officials can close down the freeway and force people off the road.

    But the most important thing is that roads are not what makes a winter trip safe or dangerous, its the driver. Its possible to safely drive through almost any winter storm, if you take the right approach. Most importantly, that means having a driver that isn't trying to do more than the conditions allow, including slowing down, or even stopping, if snow/ice/etc pushes driving conditions beyond a comfort level.

    If you take a safe approach to winter driving, there is no reason you can't have a safe and successful trip.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    If you are concerned about safety and cost, the best bet for hotels are chains at Interstate exits associated with smaller towns away from large metro areas.

    Buck's alternate is one I'd avoid, I-90 along Lake Erie is the highest risk area for lake effect snow in the country. It also is a lot hillier than his and my preferred route, which is almost flat as a pancake.

  7. #7

    Default I did this...

    I did this exact trip (with help from this forum) last year over thanksgiving.

    I went from Fort Worth using I-30 to Little Rock, Memphis and stopped for night in Jackson TN, about 80 miles outside Memphis. I stayed in a Holiday Inn. As I was leaving the next morning (around 5:00 am) they had coffee and donuts out, so I helped myself.

    The next day I drove from Jackson TN on I-40 to Nashville and took I-65 from there to Louisville, KY. From here, I took I-71 and passed through Ohio and stopped for the night in Mansfield, OH about 70 miles outside Columbus. Again, I found a hotel (Hampton Inn) right off the freeway. They too had a breakfast in the morning, much better then the night before. Either night, I didn’t have reservation, just drove as much as I could and the looked for signs for hotels.

    Third day, I drove on I-71 from Mansfield and switch to I-90 in Cleveland. This brought me to Buffalo and then eventually to Toronto via QEW.

    During my trip, the weather was cold in the early mornings and nice during the day.

    Good luck with your move to big TO.

  8. Default Dallas to Toronto

    Thank you Jackson John: This is a great help! Would you remember the actual driving hours per day? Like what time you started, How many breaks you took for lunch etc...? Could you have done it any other way like drove longer or shorter?

    Thanks, friend...


  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    My recommended route is 1500 miles. This is a comfortable 3 day trip, driving no more than 10 hours a day including fuel, food, and rest stops. Overnight stops would be around Blytheville, AR and Fort Wayne, IN.

    I still don't think it would be wise to bank on good weather on I-40 and I-65 through TN (it gets a bit hilly) and on I-90 from Cleveland to Buffalo (lake effect snow possibilities). My route is less than 100 miles longer than the calculated fastest route, which involves some non-Interstate highways and takes you through St. Louis and Chicago.

    Whichever way you choose to go, unless you encounter substantial delays it should be a 3 day trip.
    Last edited by glc; 12-12-2008 at 12:12 PM.

  10. #10

    Default Lake effect snow

    I can't talk about weather on I-40 & I-65, but every winter when we have a little bit of snow in Toronto, there is always much more snow in Buffalo. Lake effect snow is a real thing and can be a problem for drivers.

    As for my trip; First day I started around 8:30 or so from DFW airport (to be exact). On an average I was stopping ever 45 minutes to an hour for under 5 minute stretch break. I think I stopped at every single rest stop. I didn't have a formal lunch break. That evening when I got off the freeway, I had done just over 550 miles and I think the time was about about 8 O'clock.

    The next day I started at 5:00 am. Again my breaks consisted of 3-5 minute break at each rest stop with the exception of an hour long break at the outlet mall between Cincinnati and Columbus. That evening I stopped in Mansfield OH with about 570 miles or so. I think I sopped just after 5:30pm.

    Third day, started at 6:30 am from Mansfiled and reached Buffalo around 12:30. There was quite a bit of traffic that day.

    Hope this helps. One thing I must say, I was driving mini van and probably going much faster then any moving truck. Also having a second driver may or may not make much of a difference as I made the same trip from Dallas to Toronto back in 2000 with my wife. Back then we went North on I-35 passing St Louis, Dayton, and Detroit and it took about 3 days to do that trip.

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