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  1. Default Dec 20-21 San Francisco to Taos

    I'm driving my 2002 Toyota Prius with my three daughters from SF, CA to Taos, NM on the 21st/22nd. I would like to drive to Kingman, AZ (or possibly Flagstaff?) on the 21st, and then the second half the next day. I'm worried about the weather, as I know it will be raining, maybe snowing. The weather reports for Barstow, Kingman, Flagstaff all show temps in the 40's, but I don't know what to expect on the passes in-between.

    How likely am I to have dangerous road conditions? I did get some cable snow chains for my car, although I've never put them on. I want to keep myself and my girls safe.

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


    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    Flagstaff really is the benchmark in terms of weather on the road, as it is already up near 7,000 feet of elevation and you won't get too much higher in any of the passes. I'd say its pretty unlikely you'd see any major snowfall. What would be the bigger possible for it to get cold enough for that rain to start turning into sleet or ice, which would make travel difficult.

    I'd say your answer is that you need to be prepared for conditions where you may need to slow down or even stop and wait for things to improve, but things are looking pretty good right now.

    I will say in terms of safety, this trip is already at the limit for what we recommend as a safe distance for a 2 day trip. If the weather does change and forces you to significantly slow down or stop, you'll really need to think about extending the trip into a 3rd day. Kingman is the spot you should plan to stop. Avoid the temptation of thinking you can push onto Flagstaff. At 750 miles, that's simply too far to drive in one day, and while you might be able to make it there, its going to leave you very exhausted for your second day on the road. Two even spaced days are your best bet, and in this case that means you'll be on the road for about 12 hours each day.

  3. #3

    Default Make time to test those cable chains!

    Hello Sandraaa,

    In addition to MM's sage advice, I urge you to try mounting your cable chains today, before you leave. Trying them out once you're already in snow will certainly be a more difficult experience. Getting the hang of it now will boost your confidence, as well.

    Safe travels.


  4. Default

    Thank you both. I'm planning to leave around 5am each day, and then to stop about 5pm, but I was wondering if the possibility of cold rain turning slick on the roads is worse in the early am or the evening - or maybe it just depends on the day?

  5. Default

    It's pouring rain here wouldn't be easy to test them right now. I was hoping I could get help along the way if I need to use them - from people charging on the side of the road, or does AAA help with chains?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Early morning caution.

    I always 'tread more carefully' than usual in the early hours of the morning when there is a combination of damp and freezing night time temps. As the roads are less 'trodden' in the small hours, added to the colder night time temps you have more chance of ice forming. Just be aware of what's happening around you and you should be fine. Drive at a pace you feel comfortable with and not necessarily at the same speed as 'that bloke in the other car'.

    Hopefully you won't need the chains, and if conditions got that poor you would be better off pulling into a service area and resting for a while, rather than having the stress of trying to continue at crawling pace.

    [Sorry, no idea about AAA and chains]

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    The odds of chains being *required* on the Interstates in AZ or NM is very slim - and if the conditions are that bad you don't have any business being on the road anyway. The highest safe speed with chains is in the 25 to 30 mph range, if it's that bad, get off the road.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Albuquerque, New Mexico


    Just got this from NWS Flagstaff. It looks like you’ll just miss the snow if you get through Flagstaff early enough on Wednesday.

    NWS Flagstaff

    Have a safe trip!

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