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  1. Default Driving from Seattle to Salt Lake City during winter

    Hi.

    I would like to drive from Seattle to Salt Lake City the first week of January. I have done this drive a few times along I-84 but never during winter. I have a 95 Honda Civic. I'm not a very experienced snow driver and don't have chains but I can get them.

    I have looked online and checked the road conditions but even having done research I'm not sure 'what to expect'. I don't know if it will be a piece of cake as long as I have chains or if I'm better off going down I-5 to I-80. Would there be less snow and ice that route? Should I forsure expect snow and ice along I-84 and do I definitely need chains?

    Is this trip do-able? Or will it be difficult and am I better off waiting til spring/summer?

    Any help would be greatly appreciated as I have no idea what to expect.

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    10,164

    Default

    Welcome to RTA!

    Plan on I-90/I-82/I-84. I-5/I-80 can be just as bad, if not worse, and it's a LOT of extra miles. There is no way to tell what the conditions are going to be until the day of the trip. If the Interstates are bad enough where chains are required, you don't belong out there to begin with, stop and hole up in a hotel till it clears out.

    Legally, you will need to carry chains or have "traction tires" - which are tires with a "M+S" rating. Don't get link chains, they are really rough on small cars - get cables.

    The trip is definitely doable - with an overnight stop. Have extra time allocated in case of bad weather.

  3. Default

    Thank you for the response and advice. Should it be smooth sailing most of the way with a few stops where I'd need to put chains on? Or chains on and off throughout a lot of the trip. How about the Blue Mountain pass do I need to worry about that area and snow, I recall it being steep.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    10,164

    Default

    If you need to put chains on, get off the road and find a hotel. You don't belong out there without experience. The Interstates will be cleared very quickly, they are highest priority.

    As I said, you have no way of telling what the conditions are until that day. There is no way to get from Seattle to SLC without going over mountain passes.

  5. Default

    Should I buy chains for all 4 tires or just the front two?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    10,164

    Default

    Get cables for just the front. You won't legally need them if your tires are good and are "M+S" rated.

  7. Default

    I'm going to leave tomorrow. I'll let y'all know how I did when I arrive.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    10,164

    Default

    As it stands right now, I-84 is in poor shape through OR, ID, and UT, and it's still snowing. In OR, you must carry chains or traction tires, and in UT snow tires, chains, or 4wd are advised (not required).

    If you can postpone the trip for a couple days, I'd strongly advise that. I-80 is closed from Colfax CA to the NV state line, and it's snowing all the way from there to UT so that is not an option.

    Wait till the storm clears out before you leave, by the time you get to where it's bad now, it should be all clear.

  9. Default

    Yeah I can wait a few days. To me it looked like Friday and Saturday was the clearest window so I figured I'd see how far I get tomorrow and then have Friday and Saturday open. I'm already near Hood River, OR. I don't have a deadline though so I can take my time or wait a few days. To me it looked like there was a lot of snow forecasted after Sunday.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    10,164

    Default

    Go to weather.com and search on any city, go to Weather in Motion. Drag and zoom the map to cover where you are going to be, you can see current weather and forecast for the next several hours.

    Then go to safetravelusa.com and check the road conditions in the states you need.

    Right now, it's snowing across I-80 all the way from east of Sacramento to SLC, so that is completely out. On I-84, it's snowing pretty much all the way from Baker City to SLC, and it's closed from Pendleton to the ID state line due to multiple crashes, blowing snow on top of ice. It looks like by tomorrow morning, it will be clearing out.

    I would say if you hit the road in the morning, you can make it to Pendleton with no problems - then I would stop, find some wifi, and check on conditions from there. Right now, it's not looking good at all - I-84 driving conditions in ID are mostly "difficult" with some "fair" east of Twin Falls. In UT, it's snow covered from the ID state line to I-15 and I-15 is patchy snow to Ogden and wet to SLC.

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