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  1. Default December Utah to Texas Road trip

    I am going to be road tripping from Utah to Lubbock Texas mid December. I am trying to figure out what will be the safest and easiest route to go to avoid winter weather/roads. I am not an experienced winter driver at all. I'm from Lubbock, we stay home when it snows. Haha. Is there a route that can get me there where I can avoid any passes and icy roads? Or am I better off selling my car and starting over. I'm only halfway joking about that. Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,219

    Default

    Welcome to RTA!

    Where in Utah?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,697

    Default No such thing. Unfortunately.

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    Of course knowing where you will start out from will help with advice for your options, but simply put there is no such thing as a 'winter free route' and no way of preparing a route now, that is guaranteed to avoid icy roads and winter weather at the exact time you travel. All you can do is see what the weather forecasts are close to the time of setting out and choose your timing and route from that point. Everyday in every place people need to go about their daily lives, working, shopping and getting kids to school etc, so it's a case of wait and see and pick your moment. Chances are that it could be clear skies and plain sailing.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    Phoenix, Arizona
    Posts
    157

    Default Stay away from the Rockies!

    Hello!

    Dave's correct: no matter where in Utah you start out from, there's no route you can take where you'd have a meaningful guarantee of avoiding winter weather. It's simply impossible to accurately predict that sort of thing more than a few days in advance.

    All of that said, since this is something you apparently need to do, the best generic advice I can offer would be to avoid Colorado, and, to the extent that it's practical, stick to the Interstates, which are the routes most likely to be kept clear, no matter what the weather. Once you get south into Arizona or New Mexico, check the immediate weather forecast (www.weather.gov); punch in your location, or a location along your line of travel, and you'll get detailed up-to-the-minute information on the fly. Interstate 40 would be your most direct path to Lubbock, but I-40 runs above 7,000 feet in the Flagstaff area, and it hits that altitude again near Albuquerque. Altitude makes an even bigger difference than latitude, especially in the Southwest, so if snow is predicted along I-40 at the time when you get there, consider Interstate 10. It would be out of your way, but it might be your safest alternative, because it runs at a significantly lower altitude.

    Rick

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,505

    Default

    Another thing that helps, with winter travel: allow an extra day for your travel, just in case you have to hole up somewhere to wait out a storm. If you have that extra day, you probably won't need it, or so Murphy's Law insinuates. But woe to you if you don't have that extra day and you do have to wait out a storm!

    Donna

  6. Default

    thank you! That is good to know. Last time I made this trip I kinda just flew by the seat of my GPS's pants and I want to avoid that this time.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    12,989

    Default what is your definition of "the long route"

    Adding extra miles in the hopes of assuming you'll see better weather is one of the biggest mistakes you can make while planning a winter trip.

    Since there is no route that can avoid winter weather when traveling across country - especially when you are talking about going north and south, although even east-west southern routes like I-10 see plenty of winter weather - all you end up doing by taking a longer route is increasing the number of days you'll be on the road, which thus increases your chances of seeing bad weather, and gives you less extra time to deal with that weather if it hits.

    Blindly following a GPS is also a pretty bad idea, and has caused a good number of people to drive right into places they have no business being - like roads that are closed for the winter.

    I don't know what you are thinking in terms of the "long route" but your best bet would be to take the most direct route - which doesn't even go through Utah at all. I would strongly recommend you take I-90 to I-25 south to Raton, NM then take US-87/I-27 through Amarillo to Lubbock. Any other route is going to either add lots of miles, which increases your chance of seeing winter weather, or taking on lots of 2 lane roads, which get less priority when winter weather does it. The I-90/I-25/US-87 route is a bit over 1600 miles, which means you should plan for a solid 3 days on the road, but as this is a winter trip and you aren't confident in your winter driving abilities, you should give yourself at least 4 days for the trip, which will allow you to sit and wait out a storm.

    If by "long route" you were thinking of doing something like going all the way over to I-5 down to CA and then across I-10, before going back up to Lubbock, you'd be looking at nearly 2500 miles, which means you'd need a minimum of 5 days, and you'd still have plenty of chances to see winter weather as you made your way up and down the coastal mountains of CA and OR, as well as across the high elevation sections of I-10 in AZ, NM, and TX.

  8. Default

    Thank you all so much! I have decided I am going to change my trip to mid November and take the long route from Spokane to Texas! I was trying to avoid the extra road hours as I just made this trip before this summer but decided November would probably give me a better shot of good weather. So! If I am going to take the long trip I'm going to go the western route and see things I've never seen before!

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