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  1. Default Planning Drive from Seattle, WA to Tampa, FL in December, Need Winter Advice!

    I need to get move myself from Seattle, WA to Tampa, FL in mid-December (not ideal) in a VW Golf and I am looking for advice on routes that may encounter the least weather issues.

    I am mainly seeking advice on which highways across the middle are best. I saw some posts that I80 through WY wasn't ideal because of wind. Any other tips like that would be greatly appreciated.

    PS I want the trip to be as quick as possible as well.

    Thanks for any and all suggestions!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default No point in guessing right now.

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    No matter what is to be expected on each route, it's a case of waiting until you are close enough to get an accurate forecast for the time you are on the road a few days before and up till you leave. Interstates are a priority to keep open and traffic moving but you simply need to have a little leeway with your time so that in the event of a storm you can pull off the road and let it pass and let the road crews go about their work.

    PS I want the trip to be as quick as possible as well.
    It's going to take the best part of 6 days if everything goes well but as I mentioned, you should have some leeway. Time is the key in staying safe. Hopefully the weather will be clear and your trip will be plain sailing.

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


    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    Honestly when it comes to advice about which routes are "best" for winter travel, your best bet is to ignore pretty much anything you've probably been told. Yes, I-80 can see high winds, which can create issues especially with blowing snow and drifts, but that's if there is a problematic weather system. Every single cross country route can and does have issues with winter weather, and the only way to know which routes could be a problem is to look at the forecast for your specific dates of travel.

    Otherwise, the best advice is generally to take the shortest route possible, keeping you on the road for the fewest number of days, giving you the least chance of seeing bad weather, and the most time to wait if you need to give plow crews a chance to do their thing.

    The most direct route from Seattle to Tampa is I-90 all the way to Sioux Falls, I-29 to KC, I-70 to St. Louis, then I-64/I-24/I-75 through Nashville and Atlanta to Tampa. I-90 does have the advantage of being at a relatively low elevation, which can help, but if there are storms on I-90, It is only slightly longer to take I-84/I-80 across the west and that is also an option that could work.

    Any way you look at it, this trip is more than 3000 miles and requires a bare minimum of 5 long days on the road to be safe, but that's only if conditions are perfect and you don't stop for pretty much anything fun along the way. If you see any slowdowns for weather, you'll need a 6th day, and I'd have at least a full week available just in case the weather is not in your favor.

  4. Default

    Thanks for this reply! I wondered if people had other opinions about I80. I figured all interstates have issues and plan on checking the weather frequently in the days leading up to my trip.

    I like the advice of least distance to minimize time on the road and chance of storms.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    My ex-trucker husband has been holed up when crossing the country in the winter on I-80, I-90 and I-40 at least once each. (The company he was with tended to avoid I-70 in Colorado because of the elevation, except for senior drivers. Hubby gave it up before he hit "senior driver" status.) It will all depend on the weather when you start your trip.

    You should carry maps, and know how to use them, to be able to change your routing in the middle of your trip, too. Sometimes weather changes very quickly!


  6. Default

    Thanks DonnaR57. It seems any highway is ok as long as the weather holds out!

    I too will avoid I 70 as last time I drove it in summer my car didn't like the altitude.

    All these suggestions are very helpful!

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