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User Content => Road Trips => Topic started by: TheHighwayMan394 on September 19, 2018, 03:50:16 AM

Title: Winter road trips
Post by: TheHighwayMan394 on September 19, 2018, 03:50:16 AM
I've never been on a major trip during winter. I'm thinking about one this year because I want to see other regions' holiday spirit and celebrations.

Aside from the obvious (emergency kit, etc.) stuff, I was wondering about people's experiences doing so. Here are my concerns:

1. Weather, obviously.

2. Limited daylight, meaning using as much of it as possible for driving time is essential and possibly meaning shorter time on the road as a result.
Title: Re: Winter road trips
Post by: froggie on September 19, 2018, 06:26:33 AM
Regarding #2 and your stated goals, you'll want to do at least SOME driving at night as you're obviously not going to be able to fully appreciate Christmas light displays during the daytime.
Title: Re: Winter road trips
Post by: Brandon on September 19, 2018, 09:19:57 AM
Regarding #2 and your stated goals, you'll want to do at least SOME driving at night as you're obviously not going to be able to fully appreciate Christmas light displays during the daytime.

That only works before December 25.  If you're road tripping in January or February, not so much.
Title: Re: Winter road trips
Post by: adwerkema on September 19, 2018, 10:01:44 AM
1. Weather, obviously.

If planning on going in December around Christmas, you'll see most winter storms out west (Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, North and South Dakotas, Nebraska). If traveling in January or February, you'll see more winter storms in the Midwest and Northeast (in addition to the West)
Title: Re: Winter road trips
Post by: jemacedo9 on September 19, 2018, 10:04:22 AM
1. Weather, obviously.

If planning on going in December around Christmas, you'll see most winter storms out west (Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, North and South Dakotas, Nebraska). If traveling in January or February, you'll see more winter storms in the Midwest and Northeast (in addition to the West)

The Great Lakes area (Michigan, Ohio, NY, upper New England) can still get some significant Lake Effect storms in Dec.
Title: Re: Winter road trips
Post by: frankenroad on September 19, 2018, 12:44:14 PM
For about 12 years starting in the early 1990s, we would travel from Cincinnati to spend New Years with relatives in Western Mass/Southern Vermont.  I can think of four years when weather had a severe impact on our trip, usually on the return trip.   Sometimes we were able to avoid most of the weather by taking a longer, more southerly route, but at some point you either have to cross the mountains and/or drive close to the Lake Erie & Ontario shorelines.

We learned a valuable trick one year.   Our plan was to leave at 6 AM and arrive in Vt. around 9 PM.   About 8 PM the night before, I checked the Weather Channel and saw that a major storm was headed east across upstate NY the next day.   So, we quickly packed and put the kids (who were about 5 & 8 at the time) in the car and left about 10 PM.   We arrived at my sister-in-law's house in Vermont early the next afternoon, just ahead of the snow.   Ever since that year, we would always leave about 10-11 PM; we found the kids would sleep a good 8 hours and the drive was much more pleasant for all concerned.  That worked for us for many years for both our summer and winter trips to New England. 
Title: Re: Winter road trips
Post by: vdeane on September 19, 2018, 01:20:12 PM
I've taken clinching daytrips in the winter three day weekends before.  I've found that they work well when snow doesn't interfere; with a lull in both roadmeets and family gatherings in both January and February, it makes sense to take a couple trips tied to neither if weather allows.  I wouldn't want to do anything that couldn't be easily cancelled, though.  It seems like February is the most likely month of have a snow storm pop up, at least around here, though they can happen at any time of the season, especially areas that regularly get significant lake effect.
Title: Re: Winter road trips
Post by: webny99 on September 19, 2018, 02:28:35 PM
1. Weather, obviously.
2. Limited daylight, meaning using as much of it as possible for driving time is essential and possibly meaning shorter time on the road as a result.

Head south, and both of your concerns will dissipate before your eyes as you go  :D

It seems like February is the most likely month of have a snow storm pop up, at least around here, though they can happen at any time of the season, especially areas that regularly get significant lake effect.

I would put about even money on February and March, as far as the chances of a large snowstorm. There seems to have been a lot of March snowstorms in recent winters, although it can vary quite a bit from one area to another.

And March has approximately equal daylight to September, so there's that. It's only (relatively) early on in the winter that daylight is lacking; early December to mid-January is the only time frame when both weather conditions and daylight are at a low.

Lake Erie is known for producing incredible November snowstorms, but the Lake Ontario machine takes considerably longer to start producing. The vast majority of yearly snowfall, at least from Rochester east, occurs after New Years.
Title: Re: Winter road trips
Post by: AsphaltPlanet on September 19, 2018, 02:43:45 PM
I tend not to do too many roadtrips in the winter, but for the last few years I have done a trip in early November (and will be doing so again this year down in Texas).  The biggest issue that I find is the annoyance of short days.  Typically I try and plan my days around the places that I want to see, and then try to plan for driving between destinations at night. 

So for example, this year in November, I am going to fly into Dallas on a Saturday, and then spend Saturday during daylight hours driving and photographing the Dallas area freeway network.  Then as dark falls, I'll drive to Houston, and spend the night.  I then get Houston in daylight on Sunday morning (deliberately in order to enjoy a Sunday morning on the freeway network), and then drive down towards Brownsville on Sunday night after daylight hours... ect.

The shorter days are doable, you just have to give some thought to how you want to plan your days.
Title: Re: Winter road trips
Post by: Max Rockatansky on September 19, 2018, 07:57:57 PM
Generally I try to avoid most elevations above 4,000 feet because of chain control areas.  That said, I've found the Colorado Plateau Region to be at it's best during the winter months given it is largely devoid of people and has very little long term snow concerns.
Title: Re: Winter road trips
Post by: vdeane on September 19, 2018, 08:15:33 PM
Yeah, I forgot to comment on daylight.  I generally aim to not be driving more than 8-9 hours anyways, and most things I'm looking to clinch are an hour and a half drive away anyways, shortening the amount of daylight I need even more.  I do aim to leave earlier and not dawdle too much on lunch for winter trips, though.

There certainly have been some snowstorms in March, though February still seems bigger.  Maybe it's because that's when President's Day is, and March has no natural three day weekends, so that's when I would have been looking for good weather outside the Albany area (seriously, I live in a snow desert here; in just about any storm, drive half an hour in any direction, and snowfall totals increase by 50% or more).  Maybe it's because there have been at least a couple winters where every single Monday in February saw a nor'easter pass over Albany.
Title: Re: Winter road trips
Post by: froggie on September 19, 2018, 08:31:41 PM
Regarding #2 and your stated goals, you'll want to do at least SOME driving at night as you're obviously not going to be able to fully appreciate Christmas light displays during the daytime.

That only works before December 25.  If you're road tripping in January or February, not so much.

He specified that he wanted to "see other regions' holiday spirit and celebration."
Title: Re: Winter road trips
Post by: Rothman on September 19, 2018, 08:56:37 PM
I do take winter road trips from time to time.

One that comes to mind is that we headed out to MI, down to KY and back here to NY.  On the way back, lake effect snow hit Buffalo, so we tried to duck south on I-80 and come up I-88, but the snow extended east and hit south of Oneonta.  Followed a plow and then had to creep up the highway and luckily we got out of the storm eventually. 

Weather just slows you down and I find that the biggest risk.
Title: Re: Winter road trips
Post by: paulthemapguy on September 20, 2018, 09:46:33 AM
Weather just slows you down and I find that the biggest risk.

And by "slows you down" he means that your travel time is doubled, if not more than doubled.
And by "biggest risk" he means "biggest risk out of those that are guaranteed to happen."  Other risks not guaranteed to happen are sliding off the road, sliding into other cars, other cars sliding into you, other sliding caused by black ice or slippery surfaces hidden beneath the snow, your car failing to start, snow blowing onto the road, dangerously low visibility...

With all that said, a winter road trip can still be a perfectly good time--just check the weather forecast beforehand and don't be afraid to cancel if there's a winter storm!
Title: Re: Winter road trips
Post by: webny99 on September 20, 2018, 11:42:09 AM
February still seems bigger.  Maybe it's because that's when President's Day is, and March has no natural three day weekends,

Some of us don't get any three-day weekends at all between New Years and Memorial Day. Must be nice.
Title: Re: Winter road trips
Post by: hbelkins on September 20, 2018, 12:50:10 PM
Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge/Sevierville put up lights well before Thanksgiving, and leave them up after Christmas. In fact, they used to add Valentine-themed lights for February.
Title: Re: Winter road trips
Post by: doorknob60 on September 20, 2018, 06:25:18 PM
I've done Boise to Idaho Falls to Vegas and back, one trip Boise to SLC and back, and a few trips Boise to Seaside and back, all in December. It's generally all went well, though definitely have narrowly avoided some bad weather. Ended up using WA-14 instead of I-84 on the way back to avoid bad road conditions (the north side of the gorge gets more sun, and less vehicles; the way there was a bit scary). The trips to/through Utah have all been very smooth, but I have been within days of hitting very bad weather on them (as in, if my trip was 2 days later, roads would have been closed or would have to drive half the speed limit level bad), so also I was lucky. I'll probably do more winter trips (especially since they are often to see family for holidays, or to escape cold weather), but they are not always ideal. They're fun as long as the roads are good.

I have done night driving in winter, but only from ~St George, UT to Las Vegas on the way in (left Idaho Falls in the morning, started getting dark around then), and Las Vegas to Ely, NV on the way back (left Vegas around sunset). So for the most part (until approaching Ely), in warmer/drier areas. Definitely would try to avoid it as much as is realistic.
Title: Re: Winter road trips
Post by: D-Dey65 on September 21, 2018, 11:10:28 PM
The closest I've come was March 2017, and by that time I hadn't done any winter driving in over a decade. Unfortunately, I had the lower quarter of my car buried in snow which became ice! It was a pain in the ass getting a front-wheel drive Toyota Camry out of that crap, especially when you're surrounded by a block mainly of SUV's and vans. I though my tires were all-weather tires too, but looking back, I should've bought a set of chains for the thing. Luckily, I'm one of the few drivers in Florida who carries an ice scraper for my windshield.

When I lived on Long Island though, I drove in the winter plenty of times.

Title: Re: Winter road trips
Post by: Rothman on September 23, 2018, 08:37:48 AM
February still seems bigger.  Maybe it's because that's when President's Day is, and March has no natural three day weekends,

Some of us don't get any three-day weekends at all between New Years and Memorial Day. Must be nice.
Unionize.
Title: Re: Winter road trips
Post by: D-Dey65 on September 23, 2018, 11:43:06 PM
Do any of the service areas along I-95 north of DC sell snow chains in the winter? Because it seems like they should.

Title: Re: Winter road trips
Post by: oscar on September 24, 2018, 12:19:37 AM
Do any of the service areas along I-95 north of DC sell snow chains in the winter? Because it seems like they should.

Wouldn't they need to stock as many sizes of tire chains as there are tires (at least the popular sizes)?

I think some of the New Jersey Turnpike service areas have repair facilities large enough to stock a variety of the most popular tire sizes, for emergency replacements of tires damaged beyond repair. It might be manageable for them to stock matching tire chains. But I don't know if they indeed stock chains.

Besides, drivers' skill in properly installing and removing chains is, uh, uneven. (I didn't learn how to do it until I bought my own set online for a pickup truck I once owned, ahead of some planned winter mountain driving. Of course, in my local area I've never had to use chains except for practice.) If the snow is so deep, or falling faster than snowplows can clear it, that chains are needed, probably best to close the highway altogether to drivers who don't already have their own chains and know how to use them.
Title: Re: Winter road trips
Post by: webny99 on September 24, 2018, 08:47:16 AM
February still seems bigger.  Maybe it's because that's when President's Day is, and March has no natural three day weekends,
Some of us don't get any three-day weekends at all between New Years and Memorial Day. Must be nice.
Unionize.

Heck no  ;-)
Title: Re: Winter road trips
Post by: Rothman on September 24, 2018, 08:51:14 AM
February still seems bigger.  Maybe it's because that's when President's Day is, and March has no natural three day weekends,
Some of us don't get any three-day weekends at all between New Years and Memorial Day. Must be nice.
Unionize.

Heck no  ;-)
Then enjoy not having as many days off.
Title: Re: Winter road trips
Post by: webny99 on September 24, 2018, 08:54:42 AM
February still seems bigger.  Maybe it's because that's when President's Day is, and March has no natural three day weekends,
Some of us don't get any three-day weekends at all between New Years and Memorial Day. Must be nice.
Unionize.
Heck no  ;-)
Then enjoy not having as many days off.

I get enough other perks, PTO and such, that I think I can handle it, despite my grumblings.
Title: Re: Winter road trips
Post by: Rothman on September 24, 2018, 08:58:28 AM
February still seems bigger.  Maybe it's because that's when President's Day is, and March has no natural three day weekends,
Some of us don't get any three-day weekends at all between New Years and Memorial Day. Must be nice.
Unionize.
Heck no  ;-)
Then enjoy not having as many days off.

I get enough other perks, PTO and such, that I think I can handle it, despite my grumblings.
"These walls are funny...Enough time passes, gets so you depend on them."

Suit yourself.  Don't see why one would settle for less, however.
Title: Re: Winter road trips
Post by: jemacedo9 on September 24, 2018, 11:36:43 AM
Do any of the service areas along I-95 north of DC sell snow chains in the winter? Because it seems like they should.



Outside of mail trucks, I don't remember a time where I've seen tire chains used by anyone in PA or even Lake-Effect NY in since at least the 80s...and even then, only on school buses. In heavy enough snows, people either stay in or get stuck...

Whether there should be a push to encourage use of chains in the Northeast is a different question. 
Title: Re: Winter road trips
Post by: froggie on September 25, 2018, 12:33:06 PM
^ It's pretty common for town road crews in Vermont to use chains on plows in the winter.  But I rarely see anyone else doing the same.
Title: Re: Winter road trips
Post by: 1995hoo on September 26, 2018, 11:56:44 AM
I remember when I was in the fourth grade the school buses in Fairfax County were using chains due to snow (I remember which grade I was in because of the route the bus took—I was only on that bus route for one year). Otherwise I do not believe I’ve ever seen chains in use around here, and I’ve certainly never used them.
Title: Re: Winter road trips
Post by: jeffandnicole on September 26, 2018, 12:15:57 PM
Do any of the service areas along I-95 north of DC sell snow chains in the winter? Because it seems like they should.



Outside of mail trucks, I don't remember a time where I've seen tire chains used by anyone in PA or even Lake-Effect NY in since at least the 80s...and even then, only on school buses. In heavy enough snows, people either stay in or get stuck...

Whether there should be a push to encourage use of chains in the Northeast is a different question. 

If anything, I think they push people not to use chains.  They're good for rough roads that won't be plowed to the pavement.  Outside of developments, most roads in the northeast are cleared relatively quickly, and chains and blacktop don't mix well for both cars and the roadbed.

Besides, most people have never used chains.  They'll find dry pavement and attempt to go 70 mph not thinking about it.
Title: Re: Winter road trips
Post by: Flint1979 on September 26, 2018, 12:24:47 PM
My theory for winter road trips is to travel south. I've gone up to certain areas of northern Michigan in the winter before. I remember not too long ago on January 1st it was in the 40's for the high and I went up north and had fun that day. I try to stay away from any back country roads especially at night during the winter and tend to stick to state highways, US highways and Interstate highways. I remember about 15 years ago I was traveling south on US-23 a little south of Tawas City I spun out and got my car stuck in the snow. I managed to get it out though but it took a little work. Around that same time I got stuck in a snowstorm in Detroit and was slowly trying to make my way back north I was in Detroit all night long and waited until daylight to leave. I got a little north of Detroit and spun out but managed to keep my car on the highway and no other traffic was around that point, this was in Troy on I-75, then about 15 miles north I spun out again and this time came within a few feet of smashing into a pole on the highway and had to rock my car up a hill and back on the highway but managed to do it. I spent the night playing Blackjack at Greektown Casino and if I remember right won a little bit.

Just keep in mind that if you're traveling in Michigan the Interstate's are top priority for snow removal. I-75 always gets top priority in my area.
Title: Re: Winter road trips
Post by: kphoger on September 26, 2018, 12:55:36 PM
I spun out and got my car stuck in the snow. ... I got a little north of Detroit and spun out but managed to keep my car on the highway and no other traffic was around ... then about 15 miles north I spun out again and this time came within a few feet of smashing into a pole on the highway

For being so passionate about how people don't know how to drive in winter conditions, you sure did spin out a lot in that one trip...
Maybe going under 80 would help?

I only encountered one situation where I felt 80 mph might be a little too fast and that was in blizzard like conditions on I-96 between Lansing and Grand Rapids.
Title: Re: Winter road trips
Post by: Flint1979 on September 26, 2018, 01:57:27 PM
I spun out and got my car stuck in the snow. ... I got a little north of Detroit and spun out but managed to keep my car on the highway and no other traffic was around ... then about 15 miles north I spun out again and this time came within a few feet of smashing into a pole on the highway

For being so passionate about how people don't know how to drive in winter conditions, you sure did spin out a lot in that one trip...
Maybe going under 80 would help?

I only encountered one situation where I felt 80 mph might be a little too fast and that was in blizzard like conditions on I-96 between Lansing and Grand Rapids.
I wasn't doing 80 mph when this happened. More like about 50 mph. I have enough experience driving in the Detroit area to know that if you're doing under 80 mph on the freeways you're going to be getting tailgated. They drive crazy in Detroit and you have to be able to keep up with the flow of traffic otherwise you're going to find yourself getting ran off the road.
Title: Re: Winter road trips
Post by: jeffandnicole on September 26, 2018, 02:22:42 PM
I spun out and got my car stuck in the snow. ... I got a little north of Detroit and spun out but managed to keep my car on the highway and no other traffic was around ... then about 15 miles north I spun out again and this time came within a few feet of smashing into a pole on the highway

For being so passionate about how people don't know how to drive in winter conditions, you sure did spin out a lot in that one trip...
Maybe going under 80 would help?

I only encountered one situation where I felt 80 mph might be a little too fast and that was in blizzard like conditions on I-96 between Lansing and Grand Rapids.
I wasn't doing 80 mph when this happened. More like about 50 mph. I have enough experience driving in the Detroit area to know that if you're doing under 80 mph on the freeways you're going to be getting tailgated. They drive crazy in Detroit and you have to be able to keep up with the flow of traffic otherwise you're going to find yourself getting ran off the road.

Or spinning out and running others off the road.

Doesn't matter what speed you were going - you were going too fast if you spun once.  Do it 3 times and you're clearly a reckless driver that shouldn't be on the road at all.
Title: Re: Winter road trips
Post by: Flint1979 on September 26, 2018, 02:36:34 PM
I spun out and got my car stuck in the snow. ... I got a little north of Detroit and spun out but managed to keep my car on the highway and no other traffic was around ... then about 15 miles north I spun out again and this time came within a few feet of smashing into a pole on the highway

For being so passionate about how people don't know how to drive in winter conditions, you sure did spin out a lot in that one trip...
Maybe going under 80 would help?

I only encountered one situation where I felt 80 mph might be a little too fast and that was in blizzard like conditions on I-96 between Lansing and Grand Rapids.
I wasn't doing 80 mph when this happened. More like about 50 mph. I have enough experience driving in the Detroit area to know that if you're doing under 80 mph on the freeways you're going to be getting tailgated. They drive crazy in Detroit and you have to be able to keep up with the flow of traffic otherwise you're going to find yourself getting ran off the road.

Or spinning out and running others off the road.

Doesn't matter what speed you were going - you were going too fast if you spun once.  Do it 3 times and you're clearly a reckless driver that shouldn't be on the road at all.
This was during a snowstorm I was not doing 80 mph during this snowstorm nobody was. You can talk to just about any Michigan resident and they will tell you that the normal speed on the Interstate highways in this state are around 80 mph. That is not too fast to be driving on an Interstate highway. Even the Michigan State Police don't think it's too fast as they rarely if ever pull anyone over for doing 80 mph. I pass the MSP all the time doing 80 and don't let up at all and they do nothing about it. I've even talked to a state cop years ago that said 80 is the speed you really want to travel on the highway we're not looking for those people we're looking for people doing 85 or above. There is no reason you can't travel 80 mph on I-75 in normal driving conditions. I have never once stated that I drive 80 mph when it is unsafe to do so.
Title: Re: Winter road trips
Post by: Flint1979 on September 26, 2018, 02:50:09 PM
On top of what I posted above, Michigan's speed limit on Interstate highways is 70 mph in urban areas, sometimes as low as 55 mph but is 75 mph in rural areas. So going 80 mph most of the time only means your going 5 or 10 mph over the speed limit. I can't for the life of me figure out why anyone thinks going 80 mph on an Interstate highway is going too fast. Some Interstate's in the western part of the country have speed limits of 80 mph, is that too fast too? No way is going 80 mph too fast for an Interstate highway. There is a stretch of I-75 between 7 and 8 Mile Roads that is on a straight away where you can do over 80 mph but you'll need to slow down for the curve before 9 Mile Road going northbound, going southbound your fine until you get to the other side of the Davison where there is another curve going into Hamtramck.
Title: Re: Winter road trips
Post by: kphoger on September 26, 2018, 02:56:22 PM
On top of what I posted above, Michigan's speed limit on Interstate highways is 70 mph in urban areas, sometimes as low as 55 mph but is 75 mph in rural areas. So going 80 mph most of the time only means your going 5 or 10 mph over the speed limit. I can't for the life of me figure out why anyone thinks going 80 mph on an Interstate highway is going too fast. Some Interstate's in the western part of the country have speed limits of 80 mph, is that too fast too? No way is going 80 mph too fast for an Interstate highway. There is a stretch of I-75 between 7 and 8 Mile Roads that is on a straight away where you can do over 80 mph but you'll need to slow down for the curve before 9 Mile Road going northbound, going southbound your fine until you get to the other side of the Davison where there is another curve going into Hamtramck.

I drive 80 mph all the time.  Interstates around here are signed at 75 mph.  I've even driven the 85-mph stretch of TX-130.  But your posts in the past have shown that you're very reluctant to slow down from your normal cruising speed in winter weather, and that it annoys you when other drivers do.  I'm suggesting there's a correlation between that tendency and your having spun out multiple times on a winter trip.

There have been plenty of times I've been the one speeding by slow-poke drivers in winter weather.  But it's almost always been in the middle-latitude states (Kentucky, southern Missouri).  My experience is that the flow of traffic is pretty reasonable in the northern states during snowy and icy weather—such that, if you're driving much faster than they are, you're not driving safely.
Title: Re: Winter road trips
Post by: jeffandnicole on September 26, 2018, 02:56:42 PM
I spun out and got my car stuck in the snow. ... I got a little north of Detroit and spun out but managed to keep my car on the highway and no other traffic was around ... then about 15 miles north I spun out again and this time came within a few feet of smashing into a pole on the highway

For being so passionate about how people don't know how to drive in winter conditions, you sure did spin out a lot in that one trip...
Maybe going under 80 would help?

I only encountered one situation where I felt 80 mph might be a little too fast and that was in blizzard like conditions on I-96 between Lansing and Grand Rapids.
I wasn't doing 80 mph when this happened. More like about 50 mph. I have enough experience driving in the Detroit area to know that if you're doing under 80 mph on the freeways you're going to be getting tailgated. They drive crazy in Detroit and you have to be able to keep up with the flow of traffic otherwise you're going to find yourself getting ran off the road.

Or spinning out and running others off the road.

Doesn't matter what speed you were going - you were going too fast if you spun once.  Do it 3 times and you're clearly a reckless driver that shouldn't be on the road at all.
This was during a snowstorm I was not doing 80 mph during this snowstorm nobody was. You can talk to just about any Michigan resident and they will tell you that the normal speed on the Interstate highways in this state are around 80 mph. That is not too fast to be driving on an Interstate highway. Even the Michigan State Police don't think it's too fast as they rarely if ever pull anyone over for doing 80 mph. I pass the MSP all the time doing 80 and don't let up at all and they do nothing about it. I've even talked to a state cop years ago that said 80 is the speed you really want to travel on the highway we're not looking for those people we're looking for people doing 85 or above. There is no reason you can't travel 80 mph on I-75 in normal driving conditions. I have never once stated that I drive 80 mph when it is unsafe to do so.

Are you completely ignoring the fact that you spun out 3 times?  I didn't say once anything about doing 80.  I tried to tell you, which went completely over your head and almost into a light pole, that 50 mph was entirely too fast for conditions...or your driving ability.
Title: Re: Winter road trips
Post by: Flint1979 on September 26, 2018, 03:04:21 PM
I spun out and got my car stuck in the snow. ... I got a little north of Detroit and spun out but managed to keep my car on the highway and no other traffic was around ... then about 15 miles north I spun out again and this time came within a few feet of smashing into a pole on the highway

For being so passionate about how people don't know how to drive in winter conditions, you sure did spin out a lot in that one trip...
Maybe going under 80 would help?

I only encountered one situation where I felt 80 mph might be a little too fast and that was in blizzard like conditions on I-96 between Lansing and Grand Rapids.
I wasn't doing 80 mph when this happened. More like about 50 mph. I have enough experience driving in the Detroit area to know that if you're doing under 80 mph on the freeways you're going to be getting tailgated. They drive crazy in Detroit and you have to be able to keep up with the flow of traffic otherwise you're going to find yourself getting ran off the road.

Or spinning out and running others off the road.

Doesn't matter what speed you were going - you were going too fast if you spun once.  Do it 3 times and you're clearly a reckless driver that shouldn't be on the road at all.
This was during a snowstorm I was not doing 80 mph during this snowstorm nobody was. You can talk to just about any Michigan resident and they will tell you that the normal speed on the Interstate highways in this state are around 80 mph. That is not too fast to be driving on an Interstate highway. Even the Michigan State Police don't think it's too fast as they rarely if ever pull anyone over for doing 80 mph. I pass the MSP all the time doing 80 and don't let up at all and they do nothing about it. I've even talked to a state cop years ago that said 80 is the speed you really want to travel on the highway we're not looking for those people we're looking for people doing 85 or above. There is no reason you can't travel 80 mph on I-75 in normal driving conditions. I have never once stated that I drive 80 mph when it is unsafe to do so.

Are you completely ignoring the fact that you spun out 3 times?  I didn't say once anything about doing 80.  I tried to tell you, which went completely over your head and almost into a light pole, that 50 mph was entirely too fast for conditions...or your driving ability.
I only spun out twice. The other spin out was a totally different trip on a different day. 50 mph wasn't too fast I was following the flow of traffic and doing nothing wrong to begin with. And the pole I almost hit was a post on the side of the highway not a light pole. And my driving ability is well above the normal speeds. It was the tread on my tires that made me spin out and I got those tires replaced right after this happened.
Title: Re: Winter road trips
Post by: US 89 on September 26, 2018, 07:23:44 PM
The number-one rule for driving in snow is to never drive too fast for the conditions. It doesn't matter what the posted limit on the road is, or even what the flow of traffic is. If you're slipping at all, that is too fast. All those slide-offs you see whenever it snows? Those are people who went too fast and paid for it.

If you're on a snowy highway with the general traffic speed at 30 mph, and you're starting to lose traction at that speed, go slower! In addition, "driving ability" goes out the window when there's snow on the ground, because it does nothing to improve traction on the road. You might be able to handle a car better at higher speeds on dry roads, but your tires are no better than anyone else's.
Title: Re: Winter road trips
Post by: Rothman on September 26, 2018, 10:46:27 PM
Wow.  So that's how reckless drivers think (Flint).

If you don't keep up, you get run off the road?  No, you don't.  If other idiots want to drive too fast for conditions, you stay to the right and they move around you.

All that spinning out must have done a number on your insurance premiums. :D
Title: Re: Winter road trips
Post by: Max Rockatansky on September 26, 2018, 11:07:57 PM
Wow.  So that's how reckless drivers think (Flint).

If you don't keep up, you get run off the road?  No, you don't.  If other idiots want to drive too fast for conditions, you stay to the right and they move around you.

All that spinning out must have done a number on your insurance premiums. :D

In fairness I can attest to the dickish driving that Flint is describing in Detroit having been born and raised there.  The City is largely devoid of life and employment with freeways built for triple the current population.  Enforcement is largely non-existent and you do have to drive fast to keep up with the lightning quick pace.  That said, if conditions were bad enough to have a large degree of sliding then there plenty of solid surface alternatives like Woodward, Grand River, Telegraph, and even Michigan to get you out of the city.  Either way, doesn’t pay to have short tread in snow or even copious amounts of rain. 

Michigan in the Lower Peninsula gets for the most part mild winters.  The driving populace on the whole is way too confident in their abilities which often has disastrous results.  I-96 between Detroit and Lansing was infamous for people skidding off into the snow in the median or shoulders...Grand River was so useful as an alternate.  That said, the state trunkline system gets cleared reasonably quick.  The same can’t be said for local level roadways.  I recall driving to school and work often with 2 inches plus on the road...good luck getting someone to call a weather delay. 

Speaking of tires, does anyone ever switch to snow tires?   I used to have a set that was essentially for snowy conditions that I would put on my car during winter trips on the Mogollon Rim or even just the Colorado Plateau.  Back in 2013 I went through all five National Parks in Utah plus Great Basin after a large snow storm.  The only park that gave me trouble was Arches where the snow was bad enough that I opted to turn around rather than put chains on.  The Island in the Sky Road in Canyonlands had snow the entire road but having the right tires made it passable with a reasonable pace which was well below the posted 35 MPH speed limit. 

But that said, tread depth or lack there of in my personal experience tends to be virtually non-existent on any tire once you get below 5mm.
Title: Re: Winter road trips
Post by: kphoger on September 27, 2018, 09:41:03 AM
In addition, "driving ability" goes out the window when there's snow on the ground, because it does nothing to improve traction on the road. You might be able to handle a car better at higher speeds on dry roads, but your tires are no better than anyone else's.

While it's true that packed snow and ice make gravity and inertia take more of a role in one's driving, I don't think it's fair to say driving ability goes out the window.  There has been a time or two when I was sliding off toward the ditch while at a full stop, and it's at that point you realize there are other forces at work than just your own driving ability.  However, getting through or out of such situations does have a lot to do with driving ability.  Being able to feather the gas pedal, steer in advance of turns, avoid obstructions without coming to a full stop, determine which roads are likely to be less dangerous than others, come out of fishtail, evaluate escape routes—these are things I'd call "driving ability."
Title: Re: Winter road trips
Post by: Flint1979 on September 27, 2018, 10:23:08 AM
Wow.  So that's how reckless drivers think (Flint).

If you don't keep up, you get run off the road?  No, you don't.  If other idiots want to drive too fast for conditions, you stay to the right and they move around you.

All that spinning out must have done a number on your insurance premiums. :D
That doesn't happen in Michigan and this is driving in Detroit. Even if you stay to the right on a Detroit freeway you're still at risk to be tailgated and almost ran off the road. They tailgate like crazy in Detroit and drive like it's the Indy 500. And it did nothing to my insurance and btw I haven't spun out since and this was at least 15 years ago.
Title: Re: Winter road trips
Post by: Flint1979 on September 27, 2018, 10:33:16 AM
Wow.  So that's how reckless drivers think (Flint).

If you don't keep up, you get run off the road?  No, you don't.  If other idiots want to drive too fast for conditions, you stay to the right and they move around you.

All that spinning out must have done a number on your insurance premiums. :D

In fairness I can attest to the dickish driving that Flint is describing in Detroit having been born and raised there.  The City is largely devoid of life and employment with freeways built for triple the current population.  Enforcement is largely non-existent and you do have to drive fast to keep up with the lightning quick pace.  That said, if conditions were bad enough to have a large degree of sliding then there plenty of solid surface alternatives like Woodward, Grand River, Telegraph, and even Michigan to get you out of the city.  Either way, doesn’t pay to have short tread in snow or even copious amounts of rain. 

Michigan in the Lower Peninsula gets for the most part mild winters.  The driving populace on the whole is way too confident in their abilities which often has disastrous results.  I-96 between Detroit and Lansing was infamous for people skidding off into the snow in the median or shoulders...Grand River was so useful as an alternate.  That said, the state trunkline system gets cleared reasonably quick.  The same can’t be said for local level roadways.  I recall driving to school and work often with 2 inches plus on the road...good luck getting someone to call a weather delay. 

Speaking of tires, does anyone ever switch to snow tires?   I used to have a set that was essentially for snowy conditions that I would put on my car during winter trips on the Mogollon Rim or even just the Colorado Plateau.  Back in 2013 I went through all five National Parks in Utah plus Great Basin after a large snow storm.  The only park that gave me trouble was Arches where the snow was bad enough that I opted to turn around rather than put chains on.  The Island in the Sky Road in Canyonlands had snow the entire road but having the right tires made it passable with a reasonable pace which was well below the posted 35 MPH speed limit. 

But that said, tread depth or lack there of in my personal experience tends to be virtually non-existent on any tire once you get below 5mm.
I think this all goes back to me mentioning that I drive 80 mph on Interstate highways within the state of Michigan. I drive closer to the speed limit in other states simply because I'm not familiar with a lot of other states. I'm use to driving in Detroit and as a matter of fact I'll be driving down there later today since I have to go to Wyandotte. But anyway, what you mentioned is spot on and Detroit drivers really drive like they don't have a care in the world. Only other city that I found equally as bad as Detroit driving wise was Boston possibly even worse with the narrow streets and traffic in Boston.

As far as my tires go, I wasn't aware that the tires on my car were as bad as they were. I figured out that they were bad on the second spin out which was just south of the Palace of Auburn Hills before that curve going north. The first spin out happened in Troy between 14 Mile and Rochester Road.
Title: Re: Winter road trips
Post by: adwerkema on September 27, 2018, 10:34:23 AM
Michigan in the Lower Peninsula gets for the most part mild winters.

As a whole, the Lower Peninsula does get mild winters. However, west of M-66, I'd consider winters on the more extreme side. Lake Michigan's lake effect snow doubles - and in some areas triples - the annual snowfall. Muskegon, for example, gets an annual average of 87 inches of snow. Detroit averages 32 inches of snow.

The same can probably be said about other states downwind from a Great Lake.

The driving populace on the whole is way too confident in their abilities which often has disastrous results. 

I agree wholeheartedly. This explains the countless pileups on I-94 every winter. I recall 4 distinct 30+ vehicle pileups last winter. Not to mention the 193 vehicle pileup of 2015. It always seems to be I-94 that gets pileups...
Title: Re: Winter road trips
Post by: Flint1979 on September 27, 2018, 11:00:02 AM
January and February Michigan gets temps that are in the single digits and below zero but other than that really the temps are more mild.

Like Muskegon gets an average of 93.7 inches of snow a year with the worst months being December and January and with February being slightly better but still a lot of snow that month too. You can get snow anywhere between November and April.

Grand Rapids gets 74.9 inches of snow on average a year. Grand Rapids is about 40 miles inland of course.

Lansing gets 51.1 inches a year. Detroit gets 42.5 inches a year. Flint gets 47.4 inches a year. Saginaw gets 41.5 inches a year.

So basically Detroit, Flint and Saginaw all get roughly half the snow that Muskegon does. That is indeed due to the lake effect snow coming off Lake Michigan.

Now for the cake, Marquette gets 117.2 inches a year with January alone getting almost as much as Detroit and Saginaw do in a year. Houghton gets 100 inches more than Marquette does, 217.9 inches for Houghton. So this is proof that the U.P. just gets flat out hammered by winter weather. Sault Ste. Marie gets around the same as Marquette. But Escanaba gets 49.5 inches more on par with the cities I mentioned in the Lower Peninsula. All the cities I mentioned that are over 100 inches are on Lake Superior and Escanaba is in the southern part of the U.P.
Title: Re: Winter road trips
Post by: Max Rockatansky on September 27, 2018, 11:02:17 AM
Michigan in the Lower Peninsula gets for the most part mild winters.

As a whole, the Lower Peninsula does get mild winters. However, west of M-66, I'd consider winters on the more extreme side. Lake Michigan's lake effect snow doubles - and in some areas triples - the annual snowfall. Muskegon, for example, gets an annual average of 87 inches of snow. Detroit averages 32 inches of snow.

The same can probably be said about other states downwind from a Great Lake.

The driving populace on the whole is way too confident in their abilities which often has disastrous results. 

I agree wholeheartedly. This explains the countless pileups on I-94 every winter. I recall 4 distinct 30+ vehicle pileups last winter. Not to mention the 193 vehicle pileup of 2015. It always seems to be I-94 that gets pileups...

The problem with I-94 is that it is the primary route between Detroit and Chicago, it definitely doesn’t help it dips towards Lake Michigan.  Those I-94 wrecks are old news, I’ve seen a story or two a year on them the entirety I’ve been alive. 

To your point the closer you are to Lake Michigan the more snow you’ll get from Lake Effect.  My family has a cabin up on M-22 just north of Traverse City.  December and January are infamously bad with close to 20 inches annually for those two months.  That said the bulk of the populace in Michigan is situated in the southeast part of the Lower Peninsula right in that sweet spot for a mild winter.

Interestingly enough chain controls only have a narrow legal use in Michigan and studded tires are outright prohibited on roadways:

https://www.michigan.gov/mdot/0,4616,7-151-52374-205115--F,00.html

https://www.michigan.gov/mdot/0,4616,7-151-9632_12967_52374-205116--,00.html

Title: Re: Winter road trips
Post by: Brandon on September 27, 2018, 11:09:01 AM
Now for the cake, Marquette gets 117.2 inches a year with January alone getting almost as much as Detroit and Saginaw do in a year. Houghton gets 100 inches more than Marquette does, 217.9 inches for Houghton. So this is proof that the U.P. just gets flat out hammered by winter weather. Sault Ste. Marie gets around the same as Marquette. But Escanaba gets 49.5 inches more on par with the cities I mentioned in the Lower Peninsula. All the cities I mentioned that are over 100 inches are on Lake Superior and Escanaba is in the southern part of the U.P.

And I can verify that Yoopers do not drive any slower than their Troll cousins.  70 is quite common on the two-lanes during the summer months.  And places such as Houghton do not plow to pavement, yet drivers still manage to get up to the speed limit (or better) anyway.
Title: Re: Winter road trips
Post by: US 89 on September 27, 2018, 11:18:15 AM
In addition, "driving ability" goes out the window when there's snow on the ground, because it does nothing to improve traction on the road. You might be able to handle a car better at higher speeds on dry roads, but your tires are no better than anyone else's.

While it's true that packed snow and ice make gravity and inertia take more of a role in one's driving, I don't think it's fair to say driving ability goes out the window.  There has been a time or two when I was sliding off toward the ditch while at a full stop, and it's at that point you realize there are other forces at work than just your own driving ability.  However, getting through or out of such situations does have a lot to do with driving ability.  Being able to feather the gas pedal, steer in advance of turns, avoid obstructions without coming to a full stop, determine which roads are likely to be less dangerous than others, come out of fishtail, evaluate escape routes—these are things I'd call "driving ability."

But see, that's a totally different form of driving ability, and I don't think that was what Flint meant when he said that the first time. While that does count as driving ability, it's really more of a "drive safe and smart".

Also, you've just hit on the number-two rule in snowy weather, which is to never come to a complete stop, especially on an uphill. Even if your car has 4WD, if you stop for whatever reason, you're unlikely to get going forward again.
Title: Re: Winter road trips
Post by: Max Rockatansky on September 27, 2018, 11:24:12 AM
In addition, "driving ability" goes out the window when there's snow on the ground, because it does nothing to improve traction on the road. You might be able to handle a car better at higher speeds on dry roads, but your tires are no better than anyone else's.

While it's true that packed snow and ice make gravity and inertia take more of a role in one's driving, I don't think it's fair to say driving ability goes out the window.  There has been a time or two when I was sliding off toward the ditch while at a full stop, and it's at that point you realize there are other forces at work than just your own driving ability.  However, getting through or out of such situations does have a lot to do with driving ability.  Being able to feather the gas pedal, steer in advance of turns, avoid obstructions without coming to a full stop, determine which roads are likely to be less dangerous than others, come out of fishtail, evaluate escape routes—these are things I'd call "driving ability."

But see, that's a totally different form of driving ability, and I don't think that was what Flint meant when he said that the first time. While that does count as driving ability, it's really more of a "drive safe and smart".

Also, you've just hit on the number-two rule in snowy weather, which is to never come to a complete stop, especially on an uphill. Even if your car has 4WD, if you stop for whatever reason, you're unlikely to get going forward again.

That’s what I was getting at with Utah a couple posts up thread in Arches National Park.  The Park Road north of the turn off for the Windows was basically a conpacted sheet of ice.  There is a large descent down toward the Delicate Arch trailhead which I never would have gotten back up on even if I put my chains on.  Cities like Montreal that have lots of snow and hilly grades see issues like that every winter with down hill slide, frontwards and backwards. 
Title: Re: Winter road trips
Post by: J N Winkler on September 27, 2018, 12:06:06 PM
Speaking of tires, does anyone ever switch to snow tires?   I used to have a set that was essentially for snowy conditions that I would put on my car during winter trips on the Mogollon Rim or even just the Colorado Plateau.  Back in 2013 I went through all five National Parks in Utah plus Great Basin after a large snow storm.  The only park that gave me trouble was Arches where the snow was bad enough that I opted to turn around rather than put chains on.  The Island in the Sky Road in Canyonlands had snow the entire road but having the right tires made it passable with a reasonable pace which was well below the posted 35 MPH speed limit.

Admittedly I live in Cfa, but I have never owned a set of tires other than all-season radials.  Neither have I ever owned a set of snow chains.  The one time I actually laid eyes on a set of snow chains was many years ago, when visiting cousins in Switzerland, where car owners are required to carry chains in the vehicle in the winter at minimum (I think the requirement applies year-round).  I have never even seen snow chains installed in person, though I have seen it in YouTube videos and the like.

The impression I get is that having a separate set of winter tires (often left mounted on steelies year-round and stored in summer), or a separate "winter car," is much more common in Canada than it is in even the northern US.

My daily driver, a 1994 Saturn SL2, cannot even use snow chains.  The approved traction device is snow belts.  There was at one time an OEM set of snow belts under an eight-digit Saturn part number that could be specially ordered through GM dealers.  I think the last of those went to the NOS vendors years and years ago.  I think the only option that is conveniently accessible is a set of aftermarket snow belts, and a set of four costs $300 minimum.

In regard to winter road trips, my personal preference is to vacation where snow is less likely than at home, not just to reduce the likelihood of winter-related road accidents but also to minimize underbody corrosion due to deicing chemicals.  I have no set length of time for which I keep cars, because I assign far higher priority to not carrying a car payment, and I do have history of cars rusting out once they aged past 20 years.
Title: Re: Winter road trips
Post by: Rothman on September 27, 2018, 12:13:13 PM
Wow.  So that's how reckless drivers think (Flint).

If you don't keep up, you get run off the road?  No, you don't.  If other idiots want to drive too fast for conditions, you stay to the right and they move around you.

All that spinning out must have done a number on your insurance premiums. :D
That doesn't happen in Michigan and this is driving in Detroit. Even if you stay to the right on a Detroit freeway you're still at risk to be tailgated and almost ran off the road. They tailgate like crazy in Detroit and drive like it's the Indy 500. And it did nothing to my insurance and btw I haven't spun out since and this was at least 15 years ago.
I have driven in Detroit more than once.  I never felt like I was going to be run off the round.
Title: Re: Winter road trips
Post by: vdeane on September 27, 2018, 01:21:25 PM
In addition, "driving ability" goes out the window when there's snow on the ground, because it does nothing to improve traction on the road. You might be able to handle a car better at higher speeds on dry roads, but your tires are no better than anyone else's.

While it's true that packed snow and ice make gravity and inertia take more of a role in one's driving, I don't think it's fair to say driving ability goes out the window.  There has been a time or two when I was sliding off toward the ditch while at a full stop, and it's at that point you realize there are other forces at work than just your own driving ability.  However, getting through or out of such situations does have a lot to do with driving ability.  Being able to feather the gas pedal, steer in advance of turns, avoid obstructions without coming to a full stop, determine which roads are likely to be less dangerous than others, come out of fishtail, evaluate escape routes—these are things I'd call "driving ability."
Agreed.  Many people think safe winter driving is just a matter of "going slow" (doesn't help that the media perpetuates this myth), and then slow down way more than they need to and/or get in an accident anyways.  In snowy conditions, I'll often be slower to accelerate, and slow down/change lanes over a longer period of time.  Often it's not speed so much as avoiding sudden changes in momentum.

Regarding not coming to a full stop, that's very true when leaving my apartment.  The driveway feeds out onto the street on a downhill grade.  If it's snowy/icy, I'll look for traffic further up, where I can see the road for a distance in both directions, then just roll through slowly (ignoring the stop sign - not like I'll actually be able to stop at the end of that driveway when it's covered in ice anyways) when it's clear, making sure to not start turning until after my front tires have cleared the ice.

It's all about being able to judge road conditions and what your car can handle in them, and I'd absolutely say that falls under "driver ability".  Heck, it should be required to get a licence.  We have simulators these days, so no reason they can't put a winter driving scenario on the test.
Title: Re: Winter road trips
Post by: Flint1979 on September 27, 2018, 03:59:28 PM
Wow.  So that's how reckless drivers think (Flint).

If you don't keep up, you get run off the road?  No, you don't.  If other idiots want to drive too fast for conditions, you stay to the right and they move around you.

All that spinning out must have done a number on your insurance premiums. :D
That doesn't happen in Michigan and this is driving in Detroit. Even if you stay to the right on a Detroit freeway you're still at risk to be tailgated and almost ran off the road. They tailgate like crazy in Detroit and drive like it's the Indy 500. And it did nothing to my insurance and btw I haven't spun out since and this was at least 15 years ago.
I have driven in Detroit more than once.  I never felt like I was going to be run off the round.
Well it happens. Driving 80 mph in Detroit is the average speed, there are many people that drive over 80 mph and the speeds are not enforced on the freeways inside the city of Detroit. People drive the speed they are comfortable driving. I've lost count on how many times I've driven in Detroit, 80 mph is nothing.
Title: Re: Winter road trips
Post by: kphoger on September 28, 2018, 11:56:32 AM
Heck, it should be required to get a licence.  We have simulators these days, so no reason they can't put a winter driving scenario on the test.

I have a friend who grew up in Iowa, and their driver's ed class spent time spinning donuts in the snow, so everyone in the class would know how to come out of a fishtail in the Iowa winter.
Title: Re: Winter road trips
Post by: kphoger on September 28, 2018, 01:57:02 PM
I think this all goes back to me mentioning that I drive 80 mph on Interstate highways within the state of Michigan.

It goes back to more than that.  Your posts from last winter showed a noticeable amount of anger at other drivers.  You seem unwilling to accept that any other vehicle might slow you down at all—even if that driver moved over and slowed down to pass a stopped police car impeding the next lane over.

Note that all of the posts I quote below are from December and January, and several mention winter weather conditions.  And yes, I cherry-picked these quotes and do not intend for them to represent a "fair sampling" of everything you've posted.  There were other times you've mentioned slowing down in winter weather.  But, to my thinking at least, there's still a lot of aggression going on, and I'm wondering if that occasionally spills over into reckless driving.



Because people don't know how to drive in [snow]. Like today for example ... On just about every stretch of highway I drove on today I encountered slow moving traffic in the left lane and long lines of it too because for some reason people think that they are entitled to drive in the left lane and move at about 62 mph when your trying to do 80 mph. ... I only encountered one situation where I felt 80 mph might be a little too fast and that was in blizzard like conditions on I-96 between Lansing and Grand Rapids.

It's ridiculous I was on I-96 on Friday and everybody was using the left lane I got in the right lane to pass about 10 vehicles at a time which is all I could do to get back over I was doing a lot of weaving

If you don't know how to drive on an Interstate highway do us all a favor and don't get on the highway at all, there are alternate routes you can use.

I was in the left lane and had to slow down to 45 mph for something that was on the right shoulder that's not right.

And yes the cop had the right lane somewhat blocked but you could see the cop at least 3/4 of a mile from where he was there was plenty of time to move over and continue at least at the speed limit but nope there are just way too many people in Michigan that don't know how to drive and shouldn't be behind the wheel of a car.

There were a few times the other day that I just flat out punched it and was going about 95 mph to get around some of the slow pokes.

About a month or two ago I was in the left lane doing about 80 mph. A behind me was flashing his high beams at me and I didn't move over. Then he shines his side light at me and at that point I thought screw it and got over. It was a Michigan State cop. He didn't do anything to me though.
Title: Re: Winter road trips
Post by: 1995hoo on September 28, 2018, 04:26:57 PM
Speaking of tires, does anyone ever switch to snow tires?   I used to have a set that was essentially for snowy conditions that I would put on my car during winter trips on the Mogollon Rim or even just the Colorado Plateau.  Back in 2013 I went through all five National Parks in Utah plus Great Basin after a large snow storm.  The only park that gave me trouble was Arches where the snow was bad enough that I opted to turn around rather than put chains on.  The Island in the Sky Road in Canyonlands had snow the entire road but having the right tires made it passable with a reasonable pace which was well below the posted 35 MPH speed limit.

I don't use winter tires because the weather in the DC area generally isn't such that they'd confer a huge benefit. I've certainly heard that proper "winter tires" are better than all-season tires in colder weather, but it's not that frequent that we have sustained cold spells where the temperature drops below 20°F. Plus, frankly, storing another set of wheels and tires, especially for multiple cars, would be a big headache. There have been a few times on ski trips to Canada when I've wished I had winter tires, but that's been rare.

I remember when I was a kid, my father used to put what were then called "snow tires" on their Volvo sedan (a 165, I think, but I'm not sure). I don't remember where he stored the other tires nor whether he had two sets of wheels and tires. Maybe I'll ask him when I see him tomorrow if I remember. I recall they traded in that Volvo in 1979 and he never put "snow tires" or "winter tires" on the replacement car (a 265 wagon), nor has he done so on any of his other cars since then. I never have either. If I lived further north, or in the mountains, I'd probably reconsider that.
Title: Re: Winter road trips
Post by: kphoger on September 28, 2018, 04:29:03 PM
I've never bought snow tires, but wet/snowy weather handling is my #1 criterion for purchasing all-season tires.
Title: Re: Winter road trips
Post by: Flint1979 on September 28, 2018, 06:15:29 PM
I think this all goes back to me mentioning that I drive 80 mph on Interstate highways within the state of Michigan.

It goes back to more than that.  Your posts from last winter showed a noticeable amount of anger at other drivers.  You seem unwilling to accept that any other vehicle might slow you down at all—even if that driver moved over and slowed down to pass a stopped police car impeding the next lane over.

Note that all of the posts I quote below are from December and January, and several mention winter weather conditions.  And yes, I cherry-picked these quotes and do not intend for them to represent a "fair sampling" of everything you've posted.  There were other times you've mentioned slowing down in winter weather.  But, to my thinking at least, there's still a lot of aggression going on, and I'm wondering if that occasionally spills over into reckless driving.



Because people don't know how to drive in [snow]. Like today for example ... On just about every stretch of highway I drove on today I encountered slow moving traffic in the left lane and long lines of it too because for some reason people think that they are entitled to drive in the left lane and move at about 62 mph when your trying to do 80 mph. ... I only encountered one situation where I felt 80 mph might be a little too fast and that was in blizzard like conditions on I-96 between Lansing and Grand Rapids.

It's ridiculous I was on I-96 on Friday and everybody was using the left lane I got in the right lane to pass about 10 vehicles at a time which is all I could do to get back over I was doing a lot of weaving

If you don't know how to drive on an Interstate highway do us all a favor and don't get on the highway at all, there are alternate routes you can use.

I was in the left lane and had to slow down to 45 mph for something that was on the right shoulder that's not right.

And yes the cop had the right lane somewhat blocked but you could see the cop at least 3/4 of a mile from where he was there was plenty of time to move over and continue at least at the speed limit but nope there are just way too many people in Michigan that don't know how to drive and shouldn't be behind the wheel of a car.

There were a few times the other day that I just flat out punched it and was going about 95 mph to get around some of the slow pokes.

About a month or two ago I was in the left lane doing about 80 mph. A behind me was flashing his high beams at me and I didn't move over. Then he shines his side light at me and at that point I thought screw it and got over. It was a Michigan State cop. He didn't do anything to me though.
Yup and most of those things you quoted were what's called impeding the flow of traffic. There is zero reason for anyone not passing to be in the left lane it's common sense and people fail to use it all the time. It's people that don't know how to drive on an Interstate highway that cause most of these problems. And you even quoted one of my experiences with a Michigan State cop which right there proves that they don't do anything for doing 80 mph. I don't know why you are trying to pound this out here anyway, 80 mph is only 10 mph over the speed limit and in northern Michigan only 5 mph over the limit and in other parts of the country, the speed limit. What is so hard to understand that 80 mph really isn't that fast? I was on US-10 earlier today between Bay City and Midland and the speed limit is 75, I was doing 80 and was getting passed left and right so obviously I'm not the only one out there that does 80 and people on this site have even mentioned 80 being what most Michigan drivers drive on the Interstate's. I slow down in the winter when the conditions are bad, never real happy about having to do it but I do it.
Title: Re: Winter road trips
Post by: vdeane on September 28, 2018, 07:16:59 PM
Yup and most of those things you quoted were what's called impeding the flow of traffic. There is zero reason for anyone not passing to be in the left lane it's common sense and people fail to use it all the time. It's people that don't know how to drive on an Interstate highway that cause most of these problems. And you even quoted one of my experiences with a Michigan State cop which right there proves that they don't do anything for doing 80 mph. I don't know why you are trying to pound this out here anyway, 80 mph is only 10 mph over the speed limit and in northern Michigan only 5 mph over the limit and in other parts of the country, the speed limit. What is so hard to understand that 80 mph really isn't that fast? I was on US-10 earlier today between Bay City and Midland and the speed limit is 75, I was doing 80 and was getting passed left and right so obviously I'm not the only one out there that does 80 and people on this site have even mentioned 80 being what most Michigan drivers drive on the Interstate's. I slow down in the winter when the conditions are bad, never real happy about having to do it but I do it.
I think they're assuming you're trying to do 80 on snow-covered roadways.
Title: Re: Winter road trips
Post by: Flint1979 on September 28, 2018, 08:23:42 PM
Yup and most of those things you quoted were what's called impeding the flow of traffic. There is zero reason for anyone not passing to be in the left lane it's common sense and people fail to use it all the time. It's people that don't know how to drive on an Interstate highway that cause most of these problems. And you even quoted one of my experiences with a Michigan State cop which right there proves that they don't do anything for doing 80 mph. I don't know why you are trying to pound this out here anyway, 80 mph is only 10 mph over the speed limit and in northern Michigan only 5 mph over the limit and in other parts of the country, the speed limit. What is so hard to understand that 80 mph really isn't that fast? I was on US-10 earlier today between Bay City and Midland and the speed limit is 75, I was doing 80 and was getting passed left and right so obviously I'm not the only one out there that does 80 and people on this site have even mentioned 80 being what most Michigan drivers drive on the Interstate's. I slow down in the winter when the conditions are bad, never real happy about having to do it but I do it.
I think they're assuming you're trying to do 80 on snow-covered roadways.
That's what I'm thinking too. I wouldn't try that even though I wish I could be going 80 I go with the flow of traffic. I learned how to drive in Detroit in rush hour traffic and managed to learn a lot of things on my own.
Title: Re: Winter road trips
Post by: MNHighwayMan on September 28, 2018, 09:51:13 PM
That's what I'm thinking too. I wouldn't try that even though I wish I could be going 80 I go with the flow of traffic. I learned how to drive in Detroit in rush hour traffic and managed to learn a lot of things on my own.

I was in the left lane and had to slow down to 45 mph for something that was on the right shoulder that's not right.

And yes the cop had the right lane somewhat blocked but you could see the cop at least 3/4 of a mile from where he was there was plenty of time to move over and continue at least at the speed limit but nope there are just way too many people in Michigan that don't know how to drive and shouldn't be behind the wheel of a car.

Because learning from incompetent people is the best way to educate yourself.
Title: Re: Winter road trips
Post by: Max Rockatansky on September 28, 2018, 10:55:01 PM
Speaking of tires, does anyone ever switch to snow tires?   I used to have a set that was essentially for snowy conditions that I would put on my car during winter trips on the Mogollon Rim or even just the Colorado Plateau.  Back in 2013 I went through all five National Parks in Utah plus Great Basin after a large snow storm.  The only park that gave me trouble was Arches where the snow was bad enough that I opted to turn around rather than put chains on.  The Island in the Sky Road in Canyonlands had snow the entire road but having the right tires made it passable with a reasonable pace which was well below the posted 35 MPH speed limit.

I don't use winter tires because the weather in the DC area generally isn't such that they'd confer a huge benefit. I've certainly heard that proper "winter tires" are better than all-season tires in colder weather, but it's not that frequent that we have sustained cold spells where the temperature drops below 20°F. Plus, frankly, storing another set of wheels and tires, especially for multiple cars, would be a big headache. There have been a few times on ski trips to Canada when I've wished I had winter tires, but that's been rare.

I remember when I was a kid, my father used to put what were then called "snow tires" on their Volvo sedan (a 165, I think, but I'm not sure). I don't remember where he stored the other tires nor whether he had two sets of wheels and tires. Maybe I'll ask him when I see him tomorrow if I remember. I recall they traded in that Volvo in 1979 and he never put "snow tires" or "winter tires" on the replacement car (a 265 wagon), nor has he done so on any of his other cars since then. I never have either. If I lived further north, or in the mountains, I'd probably reconsider that.

Back in the days I was referring to I was on the road for work for 150 nights a year.  The winters on the Colorado Plateau for the most part were very tame but when a storm would hit it would dump a large amount of snow that was sustained due to the sheerness of the terrain blogging forward progress.  Cities like Ruidoso, Flagstaff, Show Low, and others on the Plateau were common stops which is why the winter tires were nice to have.  Granted I'm talking maybe only a month or two of driving but it was still worth to avoid being snowbound (which happened far more often than I liked) and having to slosh around putting chains on. 

Here in California basically everyone uses chains or cables.  The weather is far too warm for snow to really stick on the roads that remain open in the Sierras.  Snow above 4,000 feet can be bad with some areas getting 200 inches but the roads are usually clear within a couple hours of a storm ending.  It definitely isn't worth it snow to have a set of tires just for snow nowadays.
Title: Re: Winter road trips
Post by: froggie on September 29, 2018, 07:22:32 AM
Quote from: Max Rockatansky
Speaking of tires, does anyone ever switch to snow tires?

Snow tires are a necessity in northern New England during the winter, especially when one lives on a dirt road miles from pavement.
Title: Re: Winter road trips
Post by: Flint1979 on September 29, 2018, 07:50:57 AM
That's what I'm thinking too. I wouldn't try that even though I wish I could be going 80 I go with the flow of traffic. I learned how to drive in Detroit in rush hour traffic and managed to learn a lot of things on my own.

I was in the left lane and had to slow down to 45 mph for something that was on the right shoulder that's not right.

And yes the cop had the right lane somewhat blocked but you could see the cop at least 3/4 of a mile from where he was there was plenty of time to move over and continue at least at the speed limit but nope there are just way too many people in Michigan that don't know how to drive and shouldn't be behind the wheel of a car.

Because learning from incompetent people is the best way to educate yourself.
Yeah like I'm going to drive slow and cause an accident. It's just as dangerous to drive slow on a highway than it is to drive fast and this is under normal driving conditions, not driving on snow covered highways or icy highways. Yes I know you have to slow down when you are driving in winter weather conditions. I'm a very experienced driver and know what the hell I'm doing.
Title: Re: Winter road trips
Post by: hbelkins on September 29, 2018, 02:04:38 PM
I've stated this before, but my biggest concern about driving on freeways when it's snowing that far too often, the trucks fly like it's sunny and 75 degrees.

Eight years ago, I was coming back from the post-Christmas SWPA road meet. At that time, my Toyota 4WD was still running, but I only ended up driving it because the battery on my Vue was dead that morning and it wouldn't start. My plan was to get back to Charleston that night. I hopped off I-79 at Fairmont to check out the new downtown connector, and it started snowing shortly after I got back on the interstate. The snow was falling fast enough that I gave serious thought to stopping at Weston for the night. I pressed on, though, and in retrospect I regret that decision. By the time I got to the Sutton area, there was enough snow on the road and it was getting dark enough that I, and most other drivers, slowed to about 45 mph. Not the trucks, though. They kept going at 65-70-75 mph. I just knew one was going to pass me, then spin out or jackknife, and collect me. I was a nervous wreck by the time I got to Charleston.

That basically justified my decision back in 2004 to bail off truck-infested I-81 at the start of a snowstorm in January, on my way back from DC, and instead take the pre-Corridor H route of VA 55, WV 55, WV 42, WV 93, WV 32 and US 219 to Elkins. My 4WD had no trouble with the deep snows, and I didn't have to worry about trucks driving too fast for conditions and claiming me as collateral damage.

One December, I was overnighting in NW Ohio and taking the long way back to some location in Michigan for a meet. I lost count of the drivers who had spun out on the Indiana Toll Road and then I-94 coming back east.

My truck is sitting with four flat tires now, and the tread is mostly gone from them to the point that the last time I drove it in the snow, it was of little use.
Title: Re: Winter road trips
Post by: J N Winkler on September 29, 2018, 04:03:17 PM
This is my personal gold standard for pileup videos, largely because it is unedited and so shows things as they first start to go wrong.  At the end you can see people getting out of their cars and running for the right-of-way fence to try to escape out-of-control trucks.

2018-02-05 pileup on I-35 near Ames, Iowa (https://whotv.com/2018/02/06/13raw-watch-traffic-camera-footage-of-fatal-i-35-pileup/)
Title: Re: Winter road trips
Post by: froggie on September 29, 2018, 04:28:49 PM
^ There's also this video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2o96MUuM-UM)...much closer up up to the action...of a 61 car pileup four years ago near the Mendota Bridge on westbound MN 55 (inbound towards Minneapolis).  Can't always see things, but you definitely hear a continual stream of cars crashing into the back of the pileup.  Near the beginning, you hear the photographer telling people to jump over the barrier into the bike/ped lane to get out of the way.
Title: Re: Winter road trips
Post by: JREwing78 on September 29, 2018, 08:32:46 PM
Speaking of tires, does anyone ever switch to snow tires?

I do. Southern Wisconsin doesn't exactly get heavy snow, but it gets a fair amount of ice. The control they give me is well worth it. It also allows me to run summer-only tires in the more temperate months. 
Title: Re: Winter road trips
Post by: kphoger on October 01, 2018, 02:20:32 PM
I think they're assuming you're trying to do 80 on snow-covered roadways.

That's what I'm thinking too.

Yes, that is the impression I was getting.  You had said that, on one trip, the only time you found it necessary to drop below 80 mph was in blizzard conditions;  I assumed there were non-blizzard snowy conditions in which you were fine driving 80 mph, because blizzards don't tend to come out of nowhere in my experience.  Now, there's not anything inherently wrong with driving the speed limit or even higher in light snow if the conditions are right (specifically, if the roadbed is warm enough that the snow immediately melts), but I was getting the impression you were bullheadedly sticking to 80 mph even as the snow started to pile up a bit.  Sorry for reading between the lines and ending up with a fictional story.

For the record, my fastest driving in Michigan was a sustained 88 mph.  My wife and son and I were headed to a wedding in Lakeside.  We had hit the south suburbs of Chicago at rush hour;  on 80/94, from the Bishop Ford to I-65, I don't think we ever went more than 25 mph.  Traffic cleared up at the I-65 junction, and it was like someone pulled the rope on the chute at the rodeo.  I wasn't the only one with pent-up frustration from driving so slowly for so long.  There were about four or five us doing between 85 and 90 mph for about 30 miles straight, and most others were doing a good 75 to 80.
Title: Re: Winter road trips
Post by: Flint1979 on October 01, 2018, 08:29:07 PM
I think they're assuming you're trying to do 80 on snow-covered roadways.

That's what I'm thinking too.

Yes, that is the impression I was getting.  You had said that, on one trip, the only time you found it necessary to drop below 80 mph was in blizzard conditions;  I assumed there were non-blizzard snowy conditions in which you were fine driving 80 mph, because blizzards don't tend to come out of nowhere in my experience.  Now, there's not anything inherently wrong with driving the speed limit or even higher in light snow if the conditions are right (specifically, if the roadbed is warm enough that the snow immediately melts), but I was getting the impression you were bullheadedly sticking to 80 mph even as the snow started to pile up a bit.  Sorry for reading between the lines and ending up with a fictional story.

For the record, my fastest driving in Michigan was a sustained 88 mph.  My wife and son and I were headed to a wedding in Lakeside.  We had hit the south suburbs of Chicago at rush hour;  on 80/94, from the Bishop Ford to I-65, I don't think we ever went more than 25 mph.  Traffic cleared up at the I-65 junction, and it was like someone pulled the rope on the chute at the rodeo.  I wasn't the only one with pent-up frustration from driving so slowly for so long.  There were about four or five us doing between 85 and 90 mph for about 30 miles straight, and most others were doing a good 75 to 80.
It's alright. It's just you misunderstood me is all no big deal. I stick to 80 mph when I can on the highway but also know that there are times that I won't be able to do 80 mph especially in the snow. I'll go as fast as the conditions allow me to go but I always have at the back of my mind man I wanna be doing 80 mph right now.

You're referring to the Lakeside that's at the southwestern corner of the state near New Buffalo right? Every time I hear Lakeside I think of the mall in Sterling Heights lol. Oh I hate the Borman Expressway that is constantly clogged with traffic especially with semi trucks. I know that route too well because I like to bypass the Skyway and head into Chicago on the Bishop Ford instead. That's how it gets quite honestly is you get frustrated with driving so slow that it just makes you drive worse. I've been in situations like that where we had just cleared from a traffic jam and about 4 or 5 of us just flat out punched it and kept going about 85-90 for miles.

There was a day in 2005 it was a Friday and the Red Sox and Cubs were playing at Wrigley Field. I was heading into Chicago in the morning and thought oh nice I'm going to go to a baseball game today but neither one is my favorite team so I just wanted to go and enjoy myself and have a good time and everything. I was already pretty deep into Chicago on the Dan Ryan and that curve where the Stevenson comes into the Dan Ryan where it goes down to 45 mph was some of the worst traffic I ever encountered. I sat in the same spot with no a/c in my truck for about a half hour and it's about 95 degrees outside and while I was sitting there my arm had become sunburnt. I finally got going again and remember I went to The Piano Man on Clark and Grace to get a ticket from a broker I knew then finally found a spot to park and took the El back up to the ballpark. I have several stories I could tell about driving in Chicago.
Title: Re: Winter road trips
Post by: Mark68 on October 05, 2018, 03:10:41 PM
February-April are the times when whether can be pretty bad for the Front Range & Rockies.

Of course, it can also be quite nice, especially in March & April, but those are our snowiest months.
Title: Re: Winter road trips
Post by: jander on November 15, 2018, 11:36:38 PM
So I had the random idea of driving from San Francisco to Boise over Christmas.

While I know you all cant predict the weather, what is that drive like?

Thinking I-80 to US-95 to us-20 to us-395

Driving a Mustang and no interest in putting snow chains on it.

Is that drive super snowy, cliff side, high mountain passes?  Or is it generally an “easy” drive?

I guess my source of comparison is driving SF to Truckee. If its not snowing, its no big deal to drive up there in the winter, even if it had snowed the day before. If its snowing its a shit show, but it will be fine tomorrow.

Is driving to Boise like driving to Truckee, just longer? Or is it desolate blowing snow and treachery?
Title: Re: Winter road trips
Post by: Max Rockatansky on November 16, 2018, 12:07:20 AM
So I had the random idea of driving from San Francisco to Boise over Christmas.

While I know you all cant predict the weather, what is that drive like?

Thinking I-80 to US-95 to us-20 to us-395

Driving a Mustang and no interest in putting snow chains on it.

Is that drive super snowy, cliff side, high mountain passes?  Or is it generally an “easy” drive?

I guess my source of comparison is driving SF to Truckee. If its not snowing, its no big deal to drive up there in the winter, even if it had snowed the day before. If its snowing its a shit show, but it will be fine tomorrow.

Is driving to Boise like driving to Truckee, just longer? Or is it desolate blowing snow and treachery?

If you take CA 70 through the Feather River Canyon you’ll largely avoid the snowiest parts of the Sierras.  CA 70 is part of Old US 40A and is beautiful highway running alongside the Feather River Railroad.  The highway and rails cross each other numerous times on separate grades, it’s a real treat to drive. N
Title: Re: Winter road trips
Post by: Flint1979 on November 16, 2018, 05:40:29 PM
So I had the random idea of driving from San Francisco to Boise over Christmas.

While I know you all cant predict the weather, what is that drive like?

Thinking I-80 to US-95 to us-20 to us-395

Driving a Mustang and no interest in putting snow chains on it.

Is that drive super snowy, cliff side, high mountain passes?  Or is it generally an “easy” drive?

I guess my source of comparison is driving SF to Truckee. If its not snowing, its no big deal to drive up there in the winter, even if it had snowed the day before. If its snowing its a shit show, but it will be fine tomorrow.

Is driving to Boise like driving to Truckee, just longer? Or is it desolate blowing snow and treachery?
I'm not sure on how this drive is actually but the route you insist on taking you would be going up I-80 to US-95 to US-20 then to US-395? Wouldn't that just involve riding around in a huge circle rather than going to Boise? I think the route you'd want to take would be I-80 to US-95 to Idaho SR-55 to I-84 to get to Boise. My whole point is that US-395 runs much further west and doesn't even enter Idaho at all.
Title: Re: Winter road trips
Post by: Flint1979 on November 16, 2018, 05:42:36 PM
Just keep in mind that US-395 is one of those US highways that never touches it's parent route. It's relation to US-95 is via US-195.
Title: Re: Winter road trips
Post by: jander on November 16, 2018, 09:06:15 PM
So I had the random idea of driving from San Francisco to Boise over Christmas.

While I know you all cant predict the weather, what is that drive like?

Thinking I-80 to US-95 to us-20 to us-395

Driving a Mustang and no interest in putting snow chains on it.

Is that drive super snowy, cliff side, high mountain passes?  Or is it generally an “easy” drive?

I guess my source of comparison is driving SF to Truckee. If its not snowing, its no big deal to drive up there in the winter, even if it had snowed the day before. If its snowing its a shit show, but it will be fine tomorrow.

Is driving to Boise like driving to Truckee, just longer? Or is it desolate blowing snow and treachery?
I'm not sure on how this drive is actually but the route you insist on taking you would be going up I-80 to US-95 to US-20 then to US-395? Wouldn't that just involve riding around in a huge circle rather than going to Boise? I think the route you'd want to take would be I-80 to US-95 to Idaho SR-55 to I-84 to get to Boise. My whole point is that US-395 runs much further west and doesn't even enter Idaho at all.

Sorry, I was being a bet generic in my description, to give the general idea and not the detailed specifics.

Looks like this.

San Francisco. To Boise.

I-280 to us-101 to i-80 to us-95 to id-55 to i-84 in Boise.

Boise to San Francisco would be.
i-84 to us-26 to us-20 to us-395 to ca-299 to i-5 to i-505 to i-80 to us-101 to i-280


Mostly i dont care about the roads in Boise, as I am sure they will be fine, or in the CA central valley, or in the Bay area.  Which is why I left them out.

Title: Re: Winter road trips
Post by: Flint1979 on November 16, 2018, 11:30:29 PM
So I had the random idea of driving from San Francisco to Boise over Christmas.

While I know you all cant predict the weather, what is that drive like?

Thinking I-80 to US-95 to us-20 to us-395

Driving a Mustang and no interest in putting snow chains on it.

Is that drive super snowy, cliff side, high mountain passes?  Or is it generally an “easy” drive?

I guess my source of comparison is driving SF to Truckee. If its not snowing, its no big deal to drive up there in the winter, even if it had snowed the day before. If its snowing its a shit show, but it will be fine tomorrow.

Is driving to Boise like driving to Truckee, just longer? Or is it desolate blowing snow and treachery?
I'm not sure on how this drive is actually but the route you insist on taking you would be going up I-80 to US-95 to US-20 then to US-395? Wouldn't that just involve riding around in a huge circle rather than going to Boise? I think the route you'd want to take would be I-80 to US-95 to Idaho SR-55 to I-84 to get to Boise. My whole point is that US-395 runs much further west and doesn't even enter Idaho at all.

Sorry, I was being a bet generic in my description, to give the general idea and not the detailed specifics.

Looks like this.

San Francisco. To Boise.

I-280 to us-101 to i-80 to us-95 to id-55 to i-84 in Boise.

Boise to San Francisco would be.
i-84 to us-26 to us-20 to us-395 to ca-299 to i-5 to i-505 to i-80 to us-101 to i-280


Mostly i dont care about the roads in Boise, as I am sure they will be fine, or in the CA central valley, or in the Bay area.  Which is why I left them out.
Honestly from the looks of things US-20 between US-26 and US-395 looks like it goes through the mountains with all those curves like around Juntura. So I'd assume that time of the year it'd be a difficult route to travel. I think myself I would like the trip up US-395. I'm use to winter weather traveling in Michigan though and around here it's mostly flat with some hills here and there and an elevation of around 500-1,000 feet above sea level so we don't experience the mountains.
Title: Re: Winter road trips
Post by: doorknob60 on November 19, 2018, 05:31:05 PM
So I had the random idea of driving from San Francisco to Boise over Christmas.

While I know you all cant predict the weather, what is that drive like?

Thinking I-80 to US-95 to us-20 to us-395

Driving a Mustang and no interest in putting snow chains on it.

Is that drive super snowy, cliff side, high mountain passes?  Or is it generally an “easy” drive?

I guess my source of comparison is driving SF to Truckee. If its not snowing, its no big deal to drive up there in the winter, even if it had snowed the day before. If its snowing its a shit show, but it will be fine tomorrow.

Is driving to Boise like driving to Truckee, just longer? Or is it desolate blowing snow and treachery?
I'm not sure on how this drive is actually but the route you insist on taking you would be going up I-80 to US-95 to US-20 then to US-395? Wouldn't that just involve riding around in a huge circle rather than going to Boise? I think the route you'd want to take would be I-80 to US-95 to Idaho SR-55 to I-84 to get to Boise. My whole point is that US-395 runs much further west and doesn't even enter Idaho at all.

Sorry, I was being a bet generic in my description, to give the general idea and not the detailed specifics.

Looks like this.

San Francisco. To Boise.

I-280 to us-101 to i-80 to us-95 to id-55 to i-84 in Boise.

Boise to San Francisco would be.
i-84 to us-26 to us-20 to us-395 to ca-299 to i-5 to i-505 to i-80 to us-101 to i-280


Mostly i dont care about the roads in Boise, as I am sure they will be fine, or in the CA central valley, or in the Bay area.  Which is why I left them out.
Honestly from the looks of things US-20 between US-26 and US-395 looks like it goes through the mountains with all those curves like around Juntura. So I'd assume that time of the year it'd be a difficult route to travel. I think myself I would like the trip up US-395. I'm use to winter weather traveling in Michigan though and around here it's mostly flat with some hills here and there and an elevation of around 500-1,000 feet above sea level so we don't experience the mountains.

I've traveled US-20 between Ontario and Burns many times, including in winter. It's in a desert, so I don't think I've ever run into snow there (it's usually dry and in the winter, cold). It can be a little curcy in places, but it is not treacherous (in good weather you will still be averaging probably 55-60 MPH). Plus, a lot of the curvy parts are in lower elevation canyons, keeping it warmer. Obviously, snow/ice is still a possibility, so keep an eye on forecasts and Tripcheck.com. But it's not a bad route. It's a much better winter route than I-84 between La Grande and Pendleton, for example.

That said, US-95 is much straighter and flatter, and also very dry on average. So between the two, that's more likely to be a safe winter route (US-395 south from Burns is probably on par with US-95). Another option if you want to go through Burns and down 395, is to take US-95 down to OR-78, and from there up to Burns. It's about 30 miles longer from Boise than going on US-20, but I've done it many times (mostly for change of pace, but winter conditions would be a valid reason to use it).