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Driving in snow

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Santa Barbara
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56 posts
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Driving in snow

I'm going to be driving from St Louis to Chicago on I-55 this weekend and the forecast is calling for snow. I am not experienced with driving in snow and I'm a bit nervous about it. I am renting an SUV with 4 wheel drive so I know that will help but I am wondering if it is safe to be driving in these types of conditions? I'm sure thousands of people drive in these types of conditions daily.

I'm considering the Amtrak as an alternative but have heard it is often delayed.

Chicago
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1. Re: Driving in snow

if you drive, go slow. Go at your own pace.

Chicago's North...
Destination Expert
for Illinois, Chicago
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2. Re: Driving in snow

listen to the weather and traffic reports on AM 780 and FM105.9.... you should be able to pick up the AM signal half way up to chicago...

4WD will help, BUT DON'T GET OVER CONFIDENT, IT WILL GET YOU IN TROUBLE!!!!!! even if it's a tiny layer of snow, that's all it takes to lose traction....

keep an eye on the weather, and if possible, make the drive during the day.... also, if it indeed snows along your route, make sure your tank is at least half full at all times, just in case.... in good weather, it's only about 5 hours, but in bad weather, it can be an all day affair.....

weather sites to monitor before your trip:

…wunderground.com/cgi-bin/…

intellicast.com/National/Radar/Current.aspx

Illinois
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for Chicago, Illinois
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3. Re: Driving in snow

Minimal chance of rain or snow flurries on Sunday. It shouldn't be an issue.

www.chicagoweathercenter.com

Chicago, Illinois
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for Train Travel
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4. Re: Driving in snow

If we get an inch of snow it will be the first of the year. You are worried for nothing. There will not be white-out conditions in the flurries that are being forecasted. You will be on an interstate freeway, not a country lane.

Amtrak was delayed over the summer because the rails were upgraded to high speed (and the rail crews can work on the tracks best in the summer). If there are train delays they are no worse than the Pacific Surfliners.

I understand (as an ex-Californian who would never go back) that you come from a car culture. I'd stongly suggest taking amtrak. It has nothing to do with driving conditions - you do not want a car in the city. (if you think SF parking rates are high you haven't been parking in Chicago) amtrak.com/ccurl/…0.pdf

Edited: 10:55 am, January 23, 2013
Santa Barbara
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5. Re: Driving in snow

shallow_shoals: thanks for your info. I'm aware of the parking rates in Chicago. The Amtrak is actually no cheaper than if I rent a car and factor in the gas & parking fees because the 7:55am train that I want on Friday from St Louis only has a private room left available - - i didn't know these trains sell out in advance.

They are forecasting 1-2" of snow on Thursday night into Friday and I do appreciate your feedback that this won't be a whiteout.

I am also considering the car because we would like to stop in Springfield to see the Lincoln Library and the car gives us more freedom. I'm torn!

Chicago, Illinois
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6. Re: Driving in snow

Oh no - you are looking at the Schedule for the Texas Eagle. You want to look at the commuter trains (Illinois Missouri schedule that I gave you the link for). There are four trains a day in each direction between St. Louis and Chicago called the the Lincoln Service. It's the difference between the Coast Starlight and the Pacific Surfliners in Santa Barbara. You do NOT want to take the Texas Eagle. That train came from LA and will be tired (read: dirty)

Edited: 12:17 pm, January 23, 2013
Santa Barbara
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7. Re: Driving in snow

I understand what you're saying about the Texas Eagle but it has the most convenient time: 7:55am departure from St Louis. The Lincoln Service has only 4:35am & 6:40am which is too early or 3pm & 5:30pm which is too late.

Illinois
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1,875 posts
158 reviews
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8. Re: Driving in snow

You should be fine driving. The interstates are kept in good shape, but there are rural areas between Chicago, Springfield and St Louis where blowing snow might be scary if you're not used to the weather and the route. Main thing is to SLOW DOWN if conditions warrant it and don't tailgate the person in front of you.

Pittsburgh...
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9. Re: Driving in snow

Snow driving in an AWD vehicle should be fine, IF you pay close attention to your vehicle, and don't drive faster than is safe. However, be aware the AWD is zero help in icy conditions. I've often seen fools driving by at 70 mph on ice, when 35 is about the fastest safe speed. So do drive, be careful, keep a "feel" for your vehicle so you know if it starting to slide, and please, stay in the right lane as much as possible. For those of us who are familiar with snowy driving, having to deal with an overly cautious and very fearful driver in the passing lane is frustrating at best.

Chicago's North...
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for Illinois, Chicago
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10. Re: Driving in snow

if it snows before the weekend, and it doesn't snow during your planned drive, the roads will be clear.... they do a pretty good job of clearing the roads... but if it's windy, and there's some snow on the ground, the blowing snow could reduce your visibility....