Hello! My wife and I are planning on leaving Phoenix around 8PM, late December, to get to Kansas City, MO as soon as possible for a local conference leading up to the new year. We will be driving thru the entire night, taking turns. Unfortunately we won't be able to leave much earlier than that. We will be driving our 2016 Toyota Corolla that has about 20k miles.
Google shows us the fastest route of 18h 40min is thru Tonto National Forest to Holbrook, 40, 54, then 35 to Kansas City.
My fear is that driving thru Tonto National Forest at night in late late December might be too dangerous. Should we instead take the 10 down to Tucson and all the way to Las Cruces? (And then take the 25 up to Albuquerque) That does add about 2hrs to the trip so we are not a fan but if that means avoiding dangerous road conditions, we are for it.
Should we get snow chains?
Also, from Albuquerque, should we take the 40 all the way to Oklahoma City instead of taking the 54 leading to Wichita? That does add about 30min but if that will give us a better road condition, we would want that.
Has anyone done such a drive? We would absolutely appreciate and love your thoughts and tips, please. Thank you so very much!