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I am looking for safest route through the mountains with winter weather.

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  • (1) don't drive in winter weather. (2) be prepared to stay someplace. (3) reroute as needed. The interstates will be fine a day or two after a big storm (generally). Last spring I drove to Oregon from the southwest. The fastest route was through Salt Lake City and Boise. Big storm coming in, so I went the Vegas and north. Bonus was seeing some beautiful country I hadn't seen before.
    – Jon Custer
    Commented Dec 9, 2021 at 13:38

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You basically have two choices, I-90 and I-80 to I-84. I-90 is more direct, but only by a few hours.

Both routes are as safe as any interstate highway except during snow storms and shortly thereafter. I would plan to take I-90 unless there were a snowstorm that somehow affected I-90 without affecting I-80 or I-84. If there were a snowstorm affecting both, it would probably be best just to wait it out.

In other words, use the weather forecast to decide which route to take.

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  • I just googled it and the I-80/I-84 route wasn't mentioned. Instead there was an I-74/I-80/Rt 380/I-29 meeting I-90 at Sioux Falls. Or I-94/I-90 via Fargo. The latter goes through Chicago, which may be best to be avoided. Both routes clock in a 33 hrs, and the I-80/I-84 route clocks in a 34 hours.
    – Peter M
    Commented Dec 9, 2021 at 14:17
  • @PeterM I was only thinking of options to get through the mountains. If you're taking I-90, there are a few ways to get to Billings; I would avoid Chicago.
    – phoog
    Commented Dec 9, 2021 at 14:21
  • The National Weather Service's Probabilistic Precipitation Forecast is extremely useful for figuring out where bad driving weather will be in the next 72 hours. It does take a bit of work to interpret, though. Commented Dec 9, 2021 at 14:33
  • Going I-80 out to Salt Lake City, then north, potentially ducking over to Portland to avoid the Washington Cascades to go up I-5. Adds about an hour or so over the other routes. So just watch the forecast and pick. Lots of ways to bounce back and forth as well.
    – Jon Custer
    Commented Dec 9, 2021 at 23:14
  • Instead of the I-80 start on the I-70 to Denver even?
    – user4188
    Commented Dec 10, 2021 at 0:45

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