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  1. Default a safe way from Chicago to Portland, OR

    Hi, I'm traveling from Chicago to Portland on the first of the year with my boyfriend. I was wondering what is the safest route to travel durning the winter months? We are driving a jeep and have chains for the tires. Our parents are in stress over the northern route we chose. (i-90 and back down). My parents are stressing me out! Can anyone give some advise?

    thank you
    leanne

  2. #2

    Default

    Usually the safest route in winter is the shortest route. If you have chains and a jeep and have winter driving experience you should be fine. If I were going from Chicago to Portland I would take I 80 to I 84. Its about 100 miles shorter and avoids the Seattle area where traffic can sometimes make you think you were back in Chicago, and takes you through the scenic Columbia River Gorge.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default agreed

    Welcome to the RTA forum!

    My advice is similar to what you found a previous thread (unfortuantly, the original poster of that thread hasn't been active in more than a year, so you probably won't get a response there.)

    If all things are equal, I'd probably lean towards taking I-80. However, in January, the weather forecast should be your first priority. I-90 often can be the better choice and have better driving weather (yes, it really does get too cold to snow!). Check the forecast just before you leave and make your final decision based on that.

  4. Default scary mountain driving

    what route is the least scary mountain driving. my boyfriend has made the drive before. but i would say we don't have too much mountain driving experience. and are avalanches something that we have to worry about on these main highways? what are things that we should bring incase the worst happens?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default Interstates and Mountains

    When most people think of "scary mountain driving", they envision steep grades with tight switchbacks and mountain goats watching the fun from overlooking crags. The Interstate highways have none of this. The full name of the Interstate system, the Dwight D. Eisenhower National System of Interstate and Defense Highways, should give you a clue. These highways were built to get troops and materiel from one place to another rapidly and safely. There is a long list of design criteria which they must meet including limits on the grade (steepness) and radius of curvature (tightness of curves) but suffice it to say that they were built to allow the low performance and poor handling cars of the 1950s to travel at sustained speeds of 70-80 mph. Both the cars and roads have only gotten better.

    Do consider (I wouldn't use the words 'worry about') the weather and be prepared to take a day off from driving should there be an unavoidable storm that you are uncomfortable driving in. As far as worst case supplies, be prepared to keep yourselves warm and fed for a while with food, water, blankets, flashlights and other common sense items. Keep your tank at least half full so that you can run the heater from time to time should you really get stranded (very unlikely). That should about do it. And remember, people make these trips every day.

    AZBuck
    Last edited by AZBuck; 12-22-2008 at 12:07 PM. Reason: Typos

  6. #6

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by leanne View Post
    what route is the least scary mountain driving. my boyfriend has made the drive before. but i would say we don't have too much mountain driving experience. and are avalanches something that we have to worry about on these main highways? what are things that we should bring incase the worst happens?
    Snow is snow, whether its on a mountain or a flat. If you are on a downgrade in snow use the brake as little as possible. Use a lower gear and let the engine help slow you down. Maintain a safe distance between you and the vehicle in front of you. If you have to use your brake use it lightly. Pretend there is an egg between your foot and the brake pedal, you want to step on the brake but not break the egg.

  7. Default thanks

    i feel much better about my trip. please post any other tips or advice. i will still checking this thread!

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