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  1. Default Kansas To California in winter?

    Hello all,
    I was hoping somebody would give me advice/pointers on a road trip that my wife and I are planning in December. We are moving to Los Angeles, and we want to drive one way from Kansas to LA via Wichita and Albuquerque, NM and Arizona - most of the trip would be along I-40 W. Both of us drive and have taken similar road trips (although not the same one) but we have never driven so far in winter. We were planning on leaving in the last week of December, and allow ourselves 3-4 days for the one way trip. I wanted to avoid driving through CO along I70 because I know how bad the road conditions can be. So I wanted to check if anybody has any idea on road/weather etc along I-40 or would it be safer to just fly?
    Thank You,

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    Well, from a statistic perspective, it will always be safer to fly regardless of the time of year. Far far far more people are killed or injured in car crashes than plane crashes.

    From a road condition perspective, I-40 can and does see just as bad of weather as I-70, with the highway being well above 5,000 feet for most of the trip across NM and AZ.

    Now the good news - just because these roads (I-40 or I-70) do see winter conditions, it doesn't mean they can't be safely traveled. Millions of people still use these highways on a daily basis - even in winter - and if they couldn't it would shut down a huge portion of the American Economy! It is possible that you'd see conditions that would make it wise to sit and wait for a day for the storm to pass and the plows to clear the roads, but with 4 days available that shouldn't be a problem for you.

  3. #3


    There is an option if you are worried about I-40 in the winter. New Mexico is still in the high plains region and the southern rockies so winter weather is a possibility. To avoid the stretch after Albuquerque you could take I-25 south to Las Cruces and hop on I-10 west bound. It adds a little less than 200 miles and with the four days you have and the relatively short daily drives you can get there in roughly 400 miles per day. If your concern is minimal stick with I-40 but if you have a lot of worry regarding winter weather than take the extra 200 miles.

  4. Default

    Thanks Midwest Michael and jimzdj36! That was very helpful. If we decide to do the road trip, I think we are going to go along I40, watching weather conditions, and if it gets too wintry, we will take I25 south and then I10 west which I think will give my wife peace of mind. thanks!

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


    Just to note, I-10 still gets snow in New Mexico and Arizona in areas where the highway is up in the 3000-4000 foot level. Its less likely to see it than I-40, and its over a smaller area (once you're near Tucson you'd be in the clear). Its not especially likely that you'll see a problem on it, but just don't go in with the assumption that I-10 doesn't see snow.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    If you do go that way (and I did exactly that on my way out to San Diego one winter when the reports indicated it was snowing in Flagstaff) there's a good shortcut to take that cuts off quite a few miles - get off I-25 in Hatch and take NM-26 to Deming to pick up I-10.

    If you would like to bypass downtown Phoenix, take I-8 at Casa Grande to Gila Bend, then AZ-85 back up to I-10. This is better than taking I-8 to San Diego then up to LA.

  7. Default

    The detour to I8 and AZ-85 up to I10 is appealing since I can avoid Phoenix. great tips, thanks guys!!

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