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Driving from Upstate NY to Dallas Tx in the winter need help

Driving from Upstate NY to Dallas Tx in the winter need help

Old Nov 13th, 2015, 11:01 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 11
Driving from Upstate NY to Dallas Tx in the winter need help

Hello all,

My wife and I, will be taking a trip to Dallas,Texas in December from upstate New York. Watertown, NY to be exact. We have never traveled in the snow before and this will be the first time we drive such a long drive. We have lived here for only a year and a half and we are wondering which roads to take to head south. What precautions to take etc. the winters here are brutal and wonder how long while we're on the road before we pass the brutal snowfall?

There are about 3 options according to google maps that we can choose from to head to Texas. And we are driving instead of flying because we are traveling with a Alaskan Malamute and gifts! Thank you guys for your time.
rockycastanon1 is offline  
Old Nov 13th, 2015, 11:37 AM
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 2,304
Surely you drove in the snow last winter, didn't you? I'm a little confused when you say you've never traveled in the snow before....do you mean long distance? Given your location you should be at least somewhat familiar with driving in snow, but unless there's a recent storm the majorroads would be clear wherever you go.

I would presume the snowfall drops off once you get south of the Great Lakes. There's really no guarantee you won't run into snowstorms along any of the 3 routes, so keep an eye on the weather forecast and adjust your route accordingly if anything major pops up.
WhereAreWe is offline  
Old Nov 13th, 2015, 11:53 AM
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 5,687
Let me add that while the chances of snow diminish as you drive further south there is no guarantee your drive will be snow/ice free. It can get below freezing in Dallas and there are times when the area roads get covered in snow and/or ice. If that happens, especially if freezing rain ices the roads EVERTHING closes down until it melts.

Now that I've frightened you you could make the entire trip in mild weather - you just don't know what will be in store when you travel.

You didn't specify what 3 routes you are considering but I assume the majority of your time will be on major Interstate Highways. If so, those will be your best routes. Monitor the weather and adjust accordingly.
RoamsAround is online now  
Old Nov 13th, 2015, 12:31 PM
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 10,168
I would follow google's eastern route unless there was lake effect snow.

Then instead I would follow I-81 to I-80 to Ohio, then Columbus, Louisville, Nashville, Memphis, Texarkana, and Dallas.

It would probably be cheaper to fly and rent a car when you get there.
Ackislander is offline  
Old Nov 13th, 2015, 01:20 PM
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 7,560
First, make sure the car is well prepared. Fluids, good all weather tires with good tread. Pack a couple of blankets, some water, some extra warm clothes, a few high energy snacks, and if really concerned a couple of candles with a bag of sand to set them in. A short handle shovel, a bag of kitty litter, flashlight with extra batteries. Stick to main highways, especially interstate highways as they will be the first priority for clearing. Have a good weather app on your cell phone and know how to use. Obviously, the further south you go the better chance for less weather. BUT there is a belt between the northern winter and the warmer south that can generate ice. I would drive in heavy snow than ice. If you run into ice, get of the road and hold up until it clears. No one is ever well prepared or can handle ice very well. Plan to take your time and enjoy the drive.
fmpden is online now  
Old Nov 13th, 2015, 03:38 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 11
I'm sorry, let me clerify that I have driven in snow, but have not driven long distance in the winter/snow. I'm originally from Dallas, so I already know what to expect once I get to Texas but just wondering the best way to go about leaving the north. Thanks guys for your responses, I really appreciate it.
rockycastanon1 is offline  
Old Nov 13th, 2015, 03:47 PM
Join Date: Oct 2003
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In addition to the above be sure you have a good scraper for the windshield and a long-handled brush to wipe the snow off the car (driving with a lot of snow on the car is a danger not only to you but to everyone else on the road).
Also have somehting (kitty litter or similar) to put under the wheels in case you get stuck on ice.

While major roads should be clear if you do run into ice or partly plowed slow be sure to slow down - start in a lower gear so you don;t just spin your wheels. (And do be aware that while there can be a lot of snow in upstate NY, storms can actually be much worse in southern areas where the cities do not have equipment to keep the roads clear.)

And, besides watching the weather, if you run into problems - which can be snow, sleet, ice or eve heavy fog - get off the road into a safe spot (fast food restaurant or similar until the road clears during the day - a motel a tnight).

My parents were once stuck in a really heavy fog in West VA and only were able to get off the road by following right behind the lights of a very large truck. They spend several hours in a McDonald's until the fog cleared enough for them to be able to continue.

That said, your trip will probably be fine - just check out the weather religiously every couple of hours.
nytraveler is offline  
Old Nov 13th, 2015, 08:19 PM
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 66,703
Weird -- on another thread I suggested that one should be prepared for winter weather anywhere on a cross country drive . . . and was eviscerated for saying that. Guess only some are allowed??

Lots of good advice above -- my one additional caution is to be sure to have lists of pet friendly hotels along which ever route you choose.
janisj is offline  
Old Nov 14th, 2015, 03:10 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 16,075
Fmpden offers EXcellent advice about driving in ice--or rather NOT driving in ice. We are pretty famous for ice storms in the south and you need to get off the road and wait it out.
There is the very good possibility that you will have zero snow from your town to Dallas. But stay tuned to the weather channel and be prepared as everyone has suggested.
And yes, Janis, I found that funny also.
Gretchen is offline  
Old Nov 14th, 2015, 03:17 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Often the most difficult winter travel is in parts of the country not accustomed to real snow and ice - they lack the equipment and driver experience to travel safely. Washington DC can get a couple of inches of snow and shut down for a few days. In Boston, we wake up to that and wonder if it is enough to wear boots to work.

Plan enough time for your trip so you can hole up for a day or so if weather is bad. Be especially careful in early AM, after dark and in fog - all situations where black ice (unseen ice surfaces) is more common. And bridges, overpasses and on/off ramps do really freeze first.

As far as what roads to take - the more major the interstate the better. Other than that, I don't think there is a real correct answer.
gail is offline  
Old Nov 14th, 2015, 09:15 PM
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 15,906
When I lived in upstate NY I was convinced to put snow tires on all 4 wheels and found it made a major difference over the all weathers that I had. Consider it.
basingstoke2 is online now  
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