I am on holiday in Canada right now and have a chance of driving from Toronto to Los Angeles to deliver a car there. I would love to do this longish trip but I am a bit wary of what the weather conditions may be like for driving at that time. I have been told that it will be impossible as there are too many chances of bad conditions going from east to west. The car has winter tyres on but I am not sure how long they should be on with the trip so would probably have to carry the all seasons to change over. I should mention that I have had no experience in snowy conditions at all. I am happy to take my time and do the trip in around 10 days if the more direct route would be more dangerous but this is one trip I would really love to do. Can anyone advise me?
I wouldn't worry too much about the weather. Yes, it can be downright cold and many feet of snow, but usually the main Interstates are ok and the chances are way higher that it is just cold but dry. Acutally, it's when it's around zero and conditions with icerain that are causing most problems, apart from the occasional massive amounts of snow and snowstorms (most snow actually around the Great Lakes). Again: don't worry and regarding the route: go south as soon as possible and turn west somewhere near Tennessee or so, instead of driving the most direct route. Weather in Louisiana, Texas, southern New Mexico and into Arizona and SoCal is fine in January. Just keep on eye out on the Weather Channel and you'll be fine.
[ Edit: Edited on 13-Dec-2011, at 05:18 by Utrecht ]
Utrecht is correct. As long as you take a southerly route on the Interstate system, you'll be fine. Go to the bookstore and get a good road atlas first, and then cross into Michigan at Windsor and head south. You want to avoid the Midwest and Plains as much as possible. I've done it in winter, and had most of my weather problems in the Iowa-Nebraska area. You would need to carry chains to cross mountain passes in Colorado or Nevada-California. Your main problem will be staying awake, as the Interstates are real sleep inducers. Be sure to keep up with weather conditions along the route - I like this weather and roadtrip planner site the best. Chances are your only problems will be the Los Angeles area freeway maze where the average speed is about 80mph (know where you're headed before you hit the speedway!)
Ask several questions about that car B4 the trip - "how much oil does it consume, and how often should it be checked", "condition of the tires", "emergency equipment in the trunk - jack, flares, wrenches". Also make sure you have written permission to use the car + the registration papers.
(In the USA, you can pump your own gas in all states except Oregon and New Jersey)
[ Edit: Edited on 13-Dec-2011, at 11:24 by Daawgon ]
The route to take is simple:
Take Canadian Highway 403 west to Canadian Highway 401 west. Take this to the city of Windsor. At this point cross over to the United States, arriving in Detroit. Get on Interstate 75 south and take this to just a short ways past Cincinnati, Ohio. At this point, get on Interstate 71 south and take this to Louisville, Kentucky. In Louisville, get on Interstate 65 south and go to Nashville, Tennessee. In Nashville, get on Interstate 40 west. You can stay on Interstate 40 all the way to Barstow, California. In Barstow, get on Interstate 15 south towards Ontario, California. In Ontario, get on Interstate 10 west to Los Angeles.
P.S. I suggest making two slight detours--one when passing through New Mexico in order to see the city of Santa Fe. This detour involves getting on US Highway 285 north when you get to the city of Clines Corner, New Mexico--and then getting on Interstate 25 south to Santa Fe. When leaving Santa Fe, stay on Interstate 25 south until you arrive at Albuquerque where you get back on Interstate 40 west. The other detour is one to go see the Grand Canyon. This detour involves taking state highway 64 north when you get to Williams, Arizona--and then returning via the same highway (state highway 64 south) after visiting the canyon.
Be careful about driving through Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Arizona at night if it is very cold. At night some of the highway bridges will freeze and become icy, possibly causing you to slide right off the side of one of them. (I've seen many large 18-wheeler trucks this happened to when passing through New Mexico.)
Come to think of it, I'd probably do one additional detour (since you've never been there before) to Las Vegas, Nevada. To go there also, get off Interstate 40 at Kingman, Arizona and take US Highway 93 north past the Hoover (Boulder) Dam to Las Vegas. When leaving Las Vegas, get on Interstate 15 south and take it all the way to Ontario, California--then take Interstate 10 west to Los Angeles (and, personally, I'd keep going on Interstate 10 until I got to Santa Monica, California).
[ Edit: Edited on 13-Dec-2011, at 23:17 by Calcruzer ]