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Fairbanks, Alaska Driving in January

My boyfriend and I are traveling to Fairbanks for a four day weekend the first weekend of February. Our plan is to see the Northern Lights. We will likely be staying at a hotel at Fort Wainwright. I was thinking we would rent a car (at least to get from airport to base and back as well as around town) but my boyfriend thinks the road conditions will be too dangerous to drive. I lived in the city of Chicago for a winter and was wondering how the road conditions differ. After a snow storm, does the city of Fairbanks plow and salt their roads? Is there often black ice? He pointed out that my experience driving in snow was in a city that is flat.

I have a second question as well. If it is safe to drive from the airport to the base and around town, would it be safe to travel outside of town far enough to see the Northern Lights or would we better off taking a tour?

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