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Is it easy to drive in Fairbanks Alaska in Feb?

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Taipei, Taiwan
posts: 1
reviews: 25
Is it easy to drive in Fairbanks Alaska in Feb?

Hello there,

We have no experience in driving in the snow or ice road, so would appreciate it a lot if anyone could advice some tips and how hard to drive in Fairbanks, including country roads and down town in early February.

Thanks a lot :D

Wasilla, Alaska
Destination Expert
for Alaska
posts: 3,313
reviews: 101
1. Re: Is it easy to drive in Fairbanks Alaska in Feb?

It just depends on what the weather is at that particular time. If there hasn't been any snow fall in a bit, then the roads will be all plowed & sanded up and be fine. If they get a bunch of snow or ice fog it can get dicey for a day or two.

Your best tip is to watch your speed and your following distance. Keep plenty of space between you and the car in front of you.

Fairbanks, Alaska
posts: 16
2. Re: Is it easy to drive in Fairbanks Alaska in Feb?

Give yourself extra distance between you and the car in front of you, allow extra time to slow down when nearing intersections or sharp turns, and make sure that you have a properly equipped vehicle. If you decide to rent a car and have not had much previous experience driving on icy roads be sure to verify with your rental company that your vehicle will be equipped with high traction winter tires. Most rental companies in Fairbanks leave the summer "all-season" tires on their cars year round. Almost all of the local residents have high traction winter tires on their vehicles, and for good reason! Good traction is essential for safe and controlled steering and braking on our icy roads.

Stay safe and have a great trip!

Peter

Alaska Auto Rental

alaska
posts: 56
reviews: 64
3. Re: Is it easy to drive in Fairbanks Alaska in Feb?

It is probably fine unless a storm hits. Otherwsie just plan on taking your time. maybe rent a 4 wheel drive vehicle with studs on the tires if your really nervous about the drive. I have done it before and was fine, atleast there won't be to many tourist out there driving RV's!

Fritz Creek, Alaska
posts: 6,393
reviews: 58
4. Re: Is it easy to drive in Fairbanks Alaska in Feb?

One thing I don't think was mentioned is if your car sits outside all night, be prepared to scrape off the frost on the windshield and let your car warm up. Here we have no problem as we have a heated garage. Our problem is when we go to Anchorage.

Alaska
Destination Expert
for Alaska
posts: 1,717
reviews: 5
5. Re: Is it easy to drive in Fairbanks Alaska in Feb?

A few other small things - consider finding a big, empty parking lot that has been plowed and drive around a bit experimenting with braking, hard braking, sliding and doing curves and controlled slides so you actually have a feel for how the car reacts and what you should do to control it - after you read up on winter driving tips. Those should be easy enough to find on the internet.

City roads will be slicker at intersections, so allow extra space to stop, and keep an eye on the road for shiny spots where there may be patches of ice or slick with the easier to drive packed snow that gives you a food grip. Also learn how to accelerate a car on ice, since once you stop you have to start again. Listening to the tires spin is a good way to keep track of how your driving is translating to the rubber and the road.

Take note of the great number of regular cars you will see on the roads. While 4 wheel drive caan be an asset, a thoughtful driver can get by easily in a regular 2 wheel drive car.

71

Anchorage, Alaska
Destination Expert
for Anchorage
posts: 6,388
reviews: 148
6. Re: Is it easy to drive in Fairbanks Alaska in Feb?

All very good points so far.

I drive the first 90 miles of the Parks Hwy (the easiest part) from Anchorage to our cabin almost every weekend. Last weekend there was a lot of snow and I found the most difficult time being when 18-wheelers (driving towards me) passed. They stir up big, dusty clouds of snow and dramatically reduce visibility. Thus, when I see one of these vehicles approaching I first keep an eye on how much snow it's stirring up and then pick my driving line for if/when my visibility disappears. As always keep a safe distance between you and the vehicle in front of you.

Please keep an eye on the many crazy (and some not crazy) drivers behind you. Don't let their "pressure" make you drive beyond your ability. But do be aware of opportunities for you to safely pullover and let any "gathered" traffic go by you. It's far nicer to have a bunch of cars in front of you "clearing the trail" then to feel pressured with them all behind you.

Good luck,

Scott

7. Re: Is it easy to drive in Fairbanks Alaska in Feb?

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