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  1. Default DC to San Fran Bay Area in November

    I don't mind extra miles, safety first! Could anyone suggest a southerly route that would avoid most wintry road conditions? I have done a cross country trip during spring before, but a a little concerned about winter driving. Thanks!

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

    Default winter-proof route doesn't exist

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    Probably the single biggest myth we deal with on this forum is the idea that the way to be safe while doing a winter trip is to go south.

    The reality is that you can not go far enough south in the United States to avoid the risk of winter weather. Even the southern most Interstate, I-10, sees snow and ice every year, and it isn't uncommon for the freeway to even be closed a couple times a winter. In fact, it is entirely possible that going south can cause bigger problems, because southern areas are often less able to deal with winter conditions, and going south can mean driving in ice rather than snow - and ice is far more dangerous and difficult to drive in.

    The best way you can approach a winter trip is head-on, but with flexibility. Taking the shortest route is your best bet, because it means you are on the road for the least amount of time, which means the fewest days where you could see the storm, and the most extra time to wait for conditions to improve if you do see bad weather. Flexibility means that if you've got a few options that are of similar distance, then you can watch the forecasts and see which route looks best during the time of your travel. Most days in winter are perfectly fine for travel everywhere, there are only problems on the relatively few days where there is actually a storm, and there is no way to know what days those might be until a couple days in advance, when you can see an accurate weather forecast.

    For this trip, what I would do is take I-70 to St. Louis (assuming roads are clear that far), then take a look at the forecasts again for the west. From there, you could continue across Missouri, then cut up on I-29 to I-80 in Nebraska and take that the rest of the way to SF. If it looks like you'll see bad weather, particularly across Nebraska and Wyoming, then look at the forecasts for Northern Arizona and New Mexico, and possibly take I-44 down to I-40, and take that across to California.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    To amplify on Michael's suggestion, to avoid tolls on the PA Turnpike I'd take I-68 at Hancock MD, then I-79 to get back to I-70. Less traffic and trucks that way too. It does add some miles.

    I would take the NE-2 shortcut from I-29 to I-80 in Lincoln instead of taking I-29 all the way to Omaha. This cuts off quite a few miles.

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