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  1. Default Mid January driving Long island ny to Gilbert az

    I am driving my Kia Forte koup from long island to gilbert az starting in mid January. Me and my partner have only done 8 hour driving trips to Cali, nothing like this but we are ready to take it on. In my opinion, I think it would be smartest to drive the southern most route to avoid any real chance of blizzards and other winter weather. Even though we are leaving from NY I have no real experience driving in snow, and I don't think my two door is really equipped for it either. My father told me he drove from LA to NY passing through Phoenix, Georgia and up the east coast but I cannot seem to find any websites with this route. I guess I am just posting for any advise since neither of us have done this before. Thank you in advance.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Keep Your Options Open

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    The best 'rules' about winter driving have almost nothing to do with "driv[ing] the southern most route" simply because taking such a route does not, and cannot, "avoid any real chance of blizzards and other winter weather." I-40, even I-10, can and do see snow and ice almost every winter and when they do the local road crews and drivers are less prepared to handle them resulting in more, not less, hazardous conditions. Your best defense against driving in winter weather that you're uncomfortable with is twofold. First be prepared to alter your plans, even at the last minute, to take into account the actual weather conditions that are in effect when you're driving. This may mean going south, but it may also mean going farther north than you planned in order to go around a particular weather front or storm. Second, schedule at least a day more than you think you'll need for the drive so that should you run into untoward weather you can just stay holed up in a nice warm motel, let the storm blow over, and resume driving once the roads have been cleared and the sun is back out.

    There are several possible routes that you should research and then, a day or two before starting out, pick the one with the best weather forecast. These routes include 1) I-80 or I-78/I-70 into Ohio, I-71 to Columbus, I-70 to St. Louis, then I-44/I-40 to northern Arizona and I-17 (or state roads) down to the Phoenix area; 2) I-78 to the Harrisburg area, I-81 down the lee side of the Appalachians to Knoxville and then I-40 west to northern Arizona; 3) I-78/I-81 to Wytheville VA then I-77 to Charlotte, I-85 to Atlanta, then I-20/I-10 to Phoenix. While the last of those is the southernmost possible, it is also 200-300 miles longer than either of the other two, and it goes through Atlanta (ugh!), meaning that it will cost more both in terms of dollars and time. The later of those two is important because the longer you're on the road, the longer you are subject to winter weather.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default common misconception

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    In my opinion, I think it would be smartest to drive the southern most route to avoid any real chance of blizzards and other winter weather.
    I'm sorry to tell you your opinion is really based on one of the biggest myths of winter travel, and is really not a good idea at all.

    The reality is that there is no cross country route that avoids the chance of winter weather. Even I-10 across Texas, New Mexico, and eastern Arizona sees snow and ice every single year.

    Making matters worse, when there is bad weather in the south, it is often much more difficult to get through. Southern States are more likely to see ice than snow, and of the two, I'll take snow every time. Additionally, when there is snow in the south, crews are often much less able to quickly remove it, and at times just wait for temperatures to warm up (which can take a few days.), compared to the north, where plows and salt can get roads back in good shape within hours of a big storm.

    The better approach is to plan to take the most direct route, which has you on the road for the fewest number of days, meaning the least chance of seeing bad weather, and the most time to sit and wait out a storm if you see bad weather. Also, check the forecasts, and if there is a bad storm along the direct path, then plan to drive around it.

    The route that would be the most direct, and the route I'd recommend starting with would take you right across the middle of the country through places like Columbus OH, St. Louis, Oklahoma City, Albuquerque, and then down at Flagstaff.

    That route is about 2,400 miles and will take you 4-5 days in good weather, but if you give yourself a full week, that should give you plenty of time to sit and wait out any storms you might encounter.

    By comparison, your idea of going through Georgia would be at least 2,900 miles - that means at the very least you'd need one extra day just to drive - and you really wouldn't increase your odds of seeing good weather, and if there is a storm, you'd have one less day to work with to wait for conditions to improve.

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