Alaska Driving


#1

Has anyone ever driven in Alaska before? I heard it can be difficult.


#2

In the summer it’s no different from any state. Winter driving is more like New England with lots of snow. The last time I was down there, I saw very few sports cars, but lots of SUVs and pickup trucks.

Depending where you are, the very low temperatures need to get some used to if you’re not from Minnesota.

If you use thin synthetic oil, like 0W30, have a block heater, and preferably park inside, you should have no problems.

Watching the news this winter, driving in Ohio and other midwestern states was chaos with the very slippery snow. Winters in Alaska have crisp snow that is very easy to drive on with winter tires.

So, if you’ve lived in Minnesota and Upper New York state, driving in Alaska will have no surprises.

The most important thing to remember, at -35F, the whole car will be very cold. So if the engine starts easy with a block heater, you still need to warm up the transmission by letting the engine run for about 5 minutes before GENTLY taking off.

And I carry a shovel, a buch of candles, winter survival gear, just in case.


#3

Are you talking about driving to Alaska, or in Alaska? And where?

I lived in Anchorage 12 years, drove a VW GTI (Golf) swapping out winter tires each fall, never got stuck.

Tell us more about where and when you want to drive.


#4

I drove to Alaska from Kentucky about 10 years ago. I left in early May and was stuck in a blizzard for 2 days just miles from the Alaskan border. If you drive up there in June…most of the snow should be gone by then. I’ve also heard the roads are better now than they were 10 years ago.


#5

Wow, these are great answers. I was talking more about driving in Alaska as opposed to Alaska. My dad drove up to Alaska in the 1970s and said that there were a ton of gravel roads both on the way and in Alaska. Are there still a lot of gravel roads in Alaska?


#6

Gravel roads were everywhere in Alaska and on the journey to Alaska in 2002. I would say that they are still there. In some places…there’s not even gravel.


#7

It depends on where you are going. Anchorage? Nome? Or some small village out in the bush?


#8

I was thinking of some place in the bush


#9

You’ll want to get “The Milepost”, an annual book describing mile-by-mile all the roads in Alaska:

You actually can’t drive to many of the villages in the bush, it’s fly-in only. But there are many great places to drive.


#10

If you are really serious, I suggest you get in touch with these guys !


#11

Now that is quite the ride! Have you ever done that before? And the book looks really helpful as well.


#12

Sure, everyday. It looks like the road into my house.


#13

Oh OK, I see


#14

regarding ALASKA DRIVING - I live 1 hour north of Anchorage … we don’t get as much snow as the U.P. in Michigan 480" per yr … or New England… we had a mild winter THIS YR 2014 … normal winter gear for a car up here is Studded tires front or rear or all around, depends on what you like. Also a tank heater you can plug in for colder spells like, -20 … we might get that for 1 or 2 weeks…they keep the roads nice & clear in winter so driving is easy peasy, we don’t use salt on roads here so no major rusting… sand is what they use … we don’t have a lot of gravel roads unless your property is way out of town, we DO have paved roads mainly and 4 lanes to Anchorage … all in all, driving up here is no different than driving down the lower 48


#15

Sounds like Maine. How’s your mud season on what gravel roads you do have ?


#16

Anchorage not nearly as bad a rural Maine. We got about 75" a year of snow, temps rarely down to -20. Of course, further north, MUCH colder, along the coast MUCH more snow.


#17

I’m living in Michigan right now, and this is the coldest and snowiest winter we have had on record, at least in southeastern Michigan.


#18

dagosa - as for mud season, depends on where you live, some areas are wayyyyy muddy, there’s mostly pavement where I live, plus we have harder ground here & a lot of gravel…you go down around Kenai / Soldotna, it can be very muddy


#19

mpgreen - I have friends that live in the U.P MI they’ll have snow til May they said lol … almost the same out east, they’ve had wayyyyyyy more snow than we have … on Facebook on KTVA CBS 11 Anchorage the forecast for the upcoming week is in the 40’s … it’s spring up here :slight_smile:


#20

Surprisingly most of the snow down here is almost gone, we maybe have some patches of one or two inches, but other than that, it’s going away.