We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

how is winter road travel?

Washington
Level Contributor
7 posts
47 reviews
Save Topic
how is winter road travel?

We are driving from Missouri to Billings in a couple of weeks and one of the suggested routes is across South Dakota. We need a route that has the minimum amount of mountain driving due to the age and condition of the car. What kinds of road conditions am I likely to encounter should storms move through? Are the freeways frequently shut down because of blowing snow? Is there anything else I should be aware of? THANKS

Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
683 posts
12 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: how is winter road travel?

Not sure of the route you are planning to take from Missouri to SD, once you get to SD, Interstate 90 West will take you all the way to Billings, Mt. with little to no mountain driving. You will be on the edge of some mountain ranges but will not encounter REAL mountain driving.

Whenever traveling out west during the winter months, weather can be a factor. It is possible to have snow or blizzard conditions in SD, Wyoming and Montanna or you could also have clear weather. Blizzard conditions will sometimes cause road closings. I would suggest you go online to www.travelsd.com/Trip-Planner/Highways. This link can provide you with current road conditions as well as phone numbers you can call for weather related information for not only SD but several adjoining states as well.

South Dakota
Level Contributor
4,507 posts
191 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: how is winter road travel?

Ditto everything mountainmama said. Interstate highways ramps will get closed by gates on the on ramps and you will be directed off in in the event of a blizzard. They try to direct you off in a town with lodging. It's tough to say how often this happens because every winter is different.

Unless it's an emergency, always check the weather forecast (National Weather Service is the most accurate) and stay put if there's a blizzard forecasted. SafetravelUSA.com gives info. about road closures, ice on roads, etc. Dialing 511 is the equivalent. Sometimes these do not get updated quickly enough. We did have a situation a couple of years ago where around 175 vehicles were stranded on I-29 during a freak blizzard because there wasn't any warning. Bottom line, check the forecast before you travel.

We never leave town in the winter without a full tank of gas, winter survival kit, shovel, blankets, boots, mittens, snacks, water, snowpants, cell, etc.

If worst comes to worst, and you get caught in a blizzard, stay in your car. Run your heater briefly in intervals. Make sure your exhaust pipe stays clear of snow. Don't try to walk for help. You can get lost and disoriented. We're having a blizzard right now and I can't see the house across the street. No lives were lost when those 100 vehicles were stuck because everyone stayed in their vehicles.

Please don't get too freaked out about this. I've lived here all my life and have never been stranded in a blizzard. Watch the forecast.

Washington
Level Contributor
7 posts
47 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: how is winter road travel?

Thanks for your replies--we were heading to Billings. I am familiar with driving through Nebraska and Wyoming and the frequent closures due to blowing snow. I'm a little freaked about making the drive alone with my teen.

4. Re: how is winter road travel?

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 23 February 2014, 06:17