New to winter driving

I am a winter driving pro and those are the exact tires I have used on multiple vehicles. They work great on all forms of winter roads. That said, the chain thing is not something we in the East partake in.

My advice is when you get to Oregon, if you do get so,e snow, find a large empty paring lot and and practice stopping, accelerating turning and spinning in the snow. You can read and talk about snow but you will understand nothing until you experience it.


That will be a rare occurrence, the average annual snowfall in Portland is 4.3 inches. With the warm temperatures the snow turns to slush in the morning hours, the average low temperatures in January/February is 36 degrees.

I would not purchase winter tires for this trip, there are 2 days of driving through the desert, then a 6 1/2 hour drive from Redding CA to Portland that could be clear or stormy. Rather than spending $600 on winter tires I would choose to spend a few nights at hotels on California beaches while waiting for clear weather.

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Ok, follow-up question: should I choose to want to carry tire chains, can anyone recommend a brand/model or at least point me in a direction of what to look for?

If you must buy tire chains ( I would not myself ) just get the cheapest you can find .

Check with a Chevy dealership. They can tell you if there are any chains that would be ok for your vehicle.

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If you’ve never used chains…buying them to use on a long trip is a very bad idea. They require some getting use to.

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No way! Practice donuts!

I’ve been driving over 50 years in snow and ice in Minnesota, South Dakota, Iowa, Illinois, etc., pulling a trailer and sans trailer. I have never used anything except all season radials. No chains. If I came to a place in the road where chains were required, I would change routes or get a motel. Sure in the old days before big plows and salt trucks, chains were common until the roads were plowed in a couple days but geez, this is fretting about a non-issue.


Of course Bing, we would be glued to the radio hoping the schools would be closed. There were a few times my dad got me up at 5AM to go along incase the car got stuck driving my mom to work.

I live near Buffalo NY, where we average about 90 inches of snow a year. We did have one storm ust a few years ago that dumped 84 inches in 24 hours. I have not seen a set of tire chains here in 60 years except for the ones I was required to carry on my tractor trailer. I just use all season tire and have never been stuck on the road with a car. I have had to weave my way through abandoned suvs and cars with my front drive cars or vans.

My daughter was stuck flying home at the Buffalo airport and a local town I had to go through to get there had a complete travel ban on. I called their police dept to see if I could get permission to travel through. I was told, “absolutely not, if we see you we will arrest you. it is so bad out there that we have even pulled our own cars off the road!” I said, isn’t that going to make it kind of hard to catch me?

I made the trip to the airport and back without incident. Most people just don’t know how to drive. Never stop in a low spot.


" absolutely not, if we see you we will arrest you. it is so bad out there that we have even pulled our own cars off the road!”

“What did he say Chief? He said catch me if you can. I’m not going out in that storm though.” :grin:

Mike in NH knows drivers going North more than 15 miles from Syracuse routinely drive in conditions that would make Ice Road Truckers park their rigs. I spent many years doing Warertown turns from buffalo and going to Montreal via Watertown and Malone.

Unless you are involved with a search and rescue team you may want to stay in Portland when the mountain highways are closed to traffic not equipped with tire chains.

You will find that Portland is nothing like Ice Road Truckers.

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That area in NY going east to Syracuse and then North to where I grew up is sees ungodly amounts of snow due to Lake-Effect. Buffalo gets their lake effect from Lake Erie and Syracuse up to Watertown gets their lake effect snow from Ontario. Buffalo’s lake effect snow usually stops mid January because Erie freezes. Ontario never freezes so it dumps lake effect snow all winter. I’ve been in two real major storms over 60". Been in a plethora of storms over 40" (what our yearly average is here in NH). Town I grew up in averages over 200"/yr. You learn how to drive in snow. Problem with lake effect snow as oldtimer will agree with - you don’t know when or where it’ll hit. Lake-effect snow isn’t just one big snow event off the lake. for some reason many times it’s multiple 10 mile wide streams of snow. I’ve driven through this event during the day. 10 miles of bright sunny sky…then you hit blizzard white-out conditions of 5"/hr snowfall. This last for 10 miles then bright sunny sky again…10 more miles another blizzard whiteout conditions of 5"/hr snowfall. This kept repeating itself. Weathermen usually can predict that there’s going to be lake effect snow, but it’s impossible to predict where it will happen. They give a general area where it’ll hit. Some in the area will see 30+" of snow…and other’s will only see 2"…and others will have sunny skies.

No, the OP is concerned that he’ll be going up I-5, approach a pass, and be required to chain up or turn around, with a vehicle that the owners manual says ‘no chains’. Major issue.

If you travel before November 1st or after April 1st…then you don’t need chains.

Thanks, I guess it takes a fellow Texan to recognize the issue.

that this migration is happening = not a choice. Or at least it’s a choice between working and not working.

when this is happening = not a choice. it’s dependent on when my existing house sells, which based on averages I expect to be in late January to February. Of 2021.

Shipping the car and flying myself = not a choice. My (rescue) dog has a nervous disposition, and I am disinclined to put her through the experience of flying as a dog; she’s sensitive enough that I believe it would be traumatizing.

So a lot of the responses I’ve seen so far are based around my having a choice in a lot of things. The reality is that the only real choice I have in this matter is whether to be unprepared, or reasonably prepared for the worst of what I might encounter - which is as been pointed out, I-5 between northern California to Portland, with certain passes being of particular concern.

There’s the 101 route as well, but I’m assessing that as a maybe-but-leaning-against; while 101 itself may not get snow, there is still an inward leg that will be necessary from the coast to PDX, and my look at the highways for that are that they are all smaller/less significant than I-5; therefore while the “distance over which there is concern” is longer for I-5 vs 101+whatever, my guess is that I-5 will be better maintained vs the “+whatever” option.

There is one other choice of route - either north to Colorado and then westward, or west to California then northward. I think the west-then-north route is the wiser for the given temporal restraint.

So at the moment I do have new winter tires installed. I also have some tire chains, “S”-class whatever that means. According to what I’ve found, they should fit without destroying my wheel wells. I’ll be making some time sometime this month to familiarize myself with installing and removing them.

Then you other options is take a train…or ship the vehicle and rent an SUV (which I don’t recommend because you don’t have snow driving experience). You should NOT be driving this. It’s dangerous for skilled drivers who driven in snow.

I think you can drive to Redding, CA and make a weather and condition-based decision from there. If it’s projected to be clear, proceed up I-5. If anything else, head west to US-101 until you get to Florence, OR. Then head east to Eugene and then up to Portland on I-5. That will get you around the Siskiyou Pass and the other mountainous areas in N CA / S OR. The likelihood of snow west of I-5 in central and north OR is low.

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