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  1. Default San Jose, CA->Los Angeles, CA -----> NY upstate in January

    Hello, i am a 4th year college student, and i am planning for a roadtrip across the country from my home in san jose, ca.

    to help me out with the trip, i will have 2 other friends with me to start the spring semester in January, and as soon as we celebrate new years, i am planning to pick up a friend in Los Angeles and start heading to the east coast! i have done fair amount of research online and your forum, but i am beginning to question whether it would be safe to drive during such a rough weather (especially in the upstate). I have never driven in snow, but i do have much experience driving in the west.

    I wanted to post here to ask specifically if there are any useful tips, such as specific routes for January driving, or simply any other precautions that we should take as we begin the journey. i have put aside approximately 10 days, but shorter would be much preferable..

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default The Most Useful Bit of Advice

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    The best thing you can do to avoid winter weather is to be flexible in your planning. That will also require that you have more time than the minimum required for the most direct all-Interstate route (or else you have no flexibility!) Having extra time allows you to change your route to go around bad weather (either to the north or south as the situation requires), or to simply sit it out if that's what is needed. There's no way to know this far in advance where any adverse weather will occur. It could just as easily be along I-10 as I-70. You'd need a minimum of five solid days of driving from L.A. to 'upstate New York' (a rather large target), so with nine days (leaving one for the drive from San Jose to Los Angeles) you should have plenty of time to alter your route, see some sites along the way, or simply stay off the roads if conditions exceed your skill and experience levels.

    So, at this point in your planning, you should be picking a route based on what you want to see rather than on weather you can't know yet. If the weather co-operates, then you can have the dream RoadTrip you planned. If the weather turns sour, you should have an alternate route or two planned as back-up, or just take an extra day to let the road crews do their usual incredible jobs before resuming your travels.


  3. Default

    Thank you for the advice!!
    Last edited by AZBuck; 10-22-2013 at 08:13 AM. Reason: Removed quote of entire previous post

  4. Default

    Safe route would be take I40 from LA all the way to I95 near Raleigh, NC and take 95 North to New York... You will likely not hit winter weather until Tennessee / South Carolina in January unless there is a winter storm near Amarillo, TX area. I95 you will have to go through DC, Philly and other towns in New Jersey/NY area.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    Ugh....I would stay off of I-95 from NC up to NJ, too much traffic! Get off I-40 in TN onto I-81 north. There are places on I-81 that have almost no traffic!


  6. Default

    Agree, I81 is better solution but it can take you so far before hitting traffic... also not sure about weather in some part of I81 and other routes....

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Can't be sure of anything.

    As Buck mentioned from the outset, you need to remain flexible with some extra time available if required to sit out a bad storm. There is just no way of predicting the weather this far in advance, or even if there is a viable route option available. If the storm is big enough you may not be able to drive around without it taking longer than simply sitting it out for a while.

    Hopefully none of this will effect your trip, have a good journey.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default nope

    Quote Originally Posted by jm98 View Post
    Safe route would be take I40 from LA all the way to I95 near Raleigh, NC and take 95 North to New York... You will likely not hit winter weather until Tennessee / South Carolina in January unless there is a winter storm near Amarillo, TX area.
    I'm sorry, but that is simply not a factual statement. I-40 frequently sees winter weather, and it certainly sees it well before you get to Texas.

    I-40 is over a mile high for most of the trip across Arizona and New Mexico, including multiple stretches that are higher than 7,000 feet. All of those areas see snow in the winter on a regular basis. Here are some great graphics showing both I-40's elevation, and how parts of AZ and NM typically get as much, and in some cases, more snow than places like Minnesota and the Dakotas.

    It is true that as you get closer to Texas, you do have the chance of seeing an ice storm - and that risk extends all the way from New Mexico through Eastern Tennessee and beyond. As is also frequently mentioned on this forum, driving in ice is far more difficult than driving in snow, and the more southern states are typically less able to deal with winter weather when it does happen (Northern states must plow and salt immediately, more southern states often thrown down some sand and wait a few days for the temperatures to go back above the freezing mark).

    As Buck originally stated, There simply is no way to know which route will be clear months ahead of time, and there is no route that is always clear in winter. Assuming I-40 will be the "safe route" because it is farther south just doesn't not reflect the reality of the climate, and could easily cause you to run into problems that could be avoided by staying farther north. The only way to pick a "safe route" is to be flexible and pay attention to the conditions on the actual days of travel.

  9. Default

    I am sorry too that it's normal weather in January in south-west. At most I40 can shut down for few hours not for days but likely there more chance that I40 will be open and without weather delays. It's better option compare to I70/I80 in January.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    It's better option compare to I70/I80 in January.
    I'm sorry, but that is NOT necessarily true. This has to be examined on a day by day basis. I have personally had to deal with some really BAD conditions on I-40 in the winter, and snow/ice removal in Oklahoma can be a joke.

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