We are planning on driving from Denver to DC before Christmas and back again before the New Year. We would be on I70 the entire time, and planning on two overnight stops. In general, what are the weather/road conditions at that time?

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    Which route? Through mountains in day or night? Vehicle? – Mark Mayo Aug 10 '20 at 4:59

Throughout the United States, interstate highways are generally cleared quickly after snowstorms (within 24 hours at most). The only times when road conditions can get unsafe is during or immediately after snow & ice storms — and, of course, we cannot predict in August whether such a storms will occur on a particular day in December.

So the answer is "the weather and roads will probably be OK, but there's always a possibility of bad weather". The best tactics for long-distance road trips in the winter are:

  • Carefully monitor the long-range weather forecasts starting about a week before your departure. If a storm appears to be brewing, try to rearrange your schedule to depart a day later or a day earlier.

  • If despite your best efforts, you find yourself caught in a major storm, pull over and find a hotel.

  • Allow for an extra day or two of travel time. In other words, if you're leaving DC on the 1st and you think you'll be back home on the 3rd, don't schedule important appointments back home for the 4th.

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    I70 between Easter Colorado and western Kansas is frequently closed for blizzard conditions, ice, high winds, etc. Even when the road is officially opened, it is inadvisable for less experienced drivers. – abelenky Aug 8 '20 at 12:28
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    @abelenky: By "frequently", do you mean every other day? Once a week? Once a month? How big is the risk of closure on a particular day? My main point in writing the answer the way I did was to point out that the day-to-day risk isn't particularly high, but that closures can happen and it's important to have flexible plans in order to accommodate them. – Michael Seifert Aug 8 '20 at 12:53

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