Your Questions About Pass To Seattle Conditions

Donna asks…

What is the best Chicago to Seattle driving route during the last week of December?

I am helping my brother in law drive his Kia Sorrento 4×4 to Seattle from Chicago during the last week of December. What is the best route from Chicago? I-90 or I-80? We know I-80 is a bit longer, but less travel through the mountains. The goal is to avoid delays.

admin answers:

Basically, if one of these routes is going to have winter weather, it’s most likely that both will.

I-90 is the more direct route, but includes mountain passes that could be treacherous or closed. We haven’t seen any multi-day closures of I-90 yet this year, but it’s been known to happen.

I-80 to Salt Lake City, then I-84 to Portland and finally I-5 is a decent compromise if you are willing to trade a bit of time for less mountainous driving.

Please, be prepared for winter driving – have warm clothes, chains, extra food and water with you. Don’t let the tank go below 1/.2 full. Pay attention to the weather reports, and check the state department of transportation for each state you are driving through for winter advisories and traffic problems. And keep your speed appropriate for the conditions.

Susan asks…

Is it safe to take a road trip from Dallas, Texas to Seattle, Washington during the month of January?

I would be going through Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, and Washington. How are the weather conditions in that part of the country? Also, how is the traffic in that part of the country? I would be taking Interstates all the way up.

admin answers:

Traffic shouldn’t be much of a problem unless going through major cities at rush hour – and often you can avoid it by taking an alternate route. Snow and winter storms will be the main issue. Plan your routes carefully – some mountain passes even on Interstates close during winter months. And some will close temporarily during major storms.

My advice – pay close attention to weather and road condition reports that time of year and have alternate routes in mind if there are closures or the potential for closures. Take tire chains and know how to install them. If a major road closes and you didn’t expect it, you can end up like my friends last winter who spent a day and a half camping out in a small town high school gym until the roads reopened.

Linda asks…

What is the traffic like in or aroudn the area of Seattle, Washington?

I’ve been doing some research lately on Seattle. I live in Wisconsin and am hopefully looking to move to Washington here in the next few years. Please help me. Does anyone know what the traffic might be like. Is it a good idea to drive there or am I better off to just fly. I know that the drive alone from Wisconsin to Washington is a little over 2000 miles but I am willing to travel by vehicle. If anyone has any answers that would be Excellent. Thanks.

admin answers:

Other answers have agreed that traffic in and around Seattle, particularly on the freeways, is amongst the worst in the nation, and they’re correct. It’s that way for three reasons, and I say this both as someone who was born here and has lived here most of his life, and as someone who has lived in other countries: Traffic is bad here because of horrible traffic planning (main freeways and thoroughfares, street conditions, mediocre public transportation), overpopulation (people are moving into this state and especially this area from everywhere and are summarily clogging up the streets), and the third reason, which most people don’t seem to realize or else disagree with, is because Americans, as a group, are horrible, horrible drivers… At least the ones around here are. People around here do not seem to know or care that left lanes are for PASSING, not for cruising or lollygagging around. If you do have to pass, more often than not you’re forced to pass on the right; and half the time the offending driver will see you trying to pass and will speed up, probably due to some troglodytic ego. You shouldn’t have to be forced to play the weaving game just to pass people, but you’re forced to here. That, and drivers here are completely oblivious; most of them suffer from a condition I’ve come to refer to as „Thumb-in-Butt Syndrome“. If you drive on the freeways around Seattle–especially during rush hour–you’ll know why. It’s illegal now to be holding a phone to your ear and be yacking away absentmindedly, but people still do it. It’s illegal to plop your butt in the left lane without a need to pass, particularly if people are forced to pass on your right… But people here still do it. It’s illegal to race people because you don’t want to be passed… But people here still do it. It’s illegal to dart back and forth between lanes without signaling, but people here still do it. It’s illegal to pop into the HOV lanes for any reason if you’re the only one in the car, but people here still do it. There are plenty of other examples, none of which are helped by the fact that we have so many rude or oblivious drivers–or both–around here. I’ve been to 22 countries, driven in 20 of them, and lived in 3 of them; and I can confidently say that of all of those countries, Americans are soundly at the bottom of the least in terms of quality, safety, and predictability as drivers, above only one other country’s drivers: Iraq’s. Even Kuwait, France, Italy, and many other countries that Americans would think have terrible drivers, have far better drivers than we do. I’m serious about this; if all of the drivers in and around Seattle drove exactly like Germans, for example, even with the poor quality of roads, bad planning, and amount of people on the road, we probably wouldn’t have the problems we have now every day, including traffic jams–or at least nowhere near as severe, not to mention not nearly as many accidents. I’m sure more than a few people who read this will likely disagree with me; but I question how much experience they actually have driving in other countries (going on the occasional vacation here and there doesn’t give you insight into another country’s driving culture).

James asks…

when will it start to snow on west coast are from phoenix to seattle wa?

I want to travel to seattle from phoenix az and It might be earliest in sept so will I run into snow at all does anyone know. help‘

admin answers:

A lot will depend on your route. Interstate 5 goes over Siskyou pass, which has a chance of snow during fall weather.

But the risk is low until mid October or so. After that time, you should be prepared for winter driving conditions.

Joseph asks…

Should I expect snow traveling from the SF bay area to Seattle in mid January on hwy 5?

I’m planning to drive to Seattle from San Francisco area and am concerned about weather. I’m trying to get the facts on the weather but I’m having trouble finding answers! Should I expect any snow on my ride through Oregon or Washington? The trip is taking place Jan 9-15

admin answers:

The answer is „maybe“. You’ll be traveling over Siskyou pass, and there is always a chance of snow, especially in the winter months. The rest of the drive has a lower chance of snow, but it’s still possible anywhere from Siskyou pass north.

Current conditions for the pass can be found here:

there is currently 2 inches of snow on the side of the road, and the pavement is clear and dry.

Each state you are traveling through has a road conditions web site – check them, take the phone number to call for on-the-road conditions updates, and make sure you are prepared for poor weather.
Recommendations –
Make sure your tires are in good shape and properly inflated. Make sure you have chains/cables for your car if not an all wheel drive.
Check the antifreeze in your car.
Don’t let the gas tank go below 1/2 tank before filling up.
Carry warm clothes, blankets, food and water with you in case you are stuck in your car in changing conditions.
If it is snowing, give yourself lots of room between you and the car in front of you. No sudden changes of direction or changes of speed. Slow down. And get off the road if you don’t think you can handle driving in snowy/icy conditions.

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