Welcome to Tesla Motors Club
Discuss Tesla's Model S, Model 3, Model X, Model Y, Cybertruck, Roadster and More.
Register
  • The final cut of the 9th episode of the Tesla Motors Club Podcast, featuring Chad Schwitters, the former president of Plug In America, is now available. You can watch it now on YouTube or listen to it on all major podcast networks.

Road Trip from SF Bay Area to Denver

Just to relate a quick experience...

I have a 2019 Model 3 LR AWD.

This past week I took a road trip from the San Francisco Bay Area to Denver following Interstate 80 through Nevada, Utah, Wyoming then down into Colorado.

I have the stock 18" Aero wheels and Michelin OEM tires (not all season). I carefully monitored the weather and felt confident that there was no snow in the forecast. Just in case, I bought the tire chains from Tesla shop (didn't need them).

Everything went great up until Elk Mountain, Wyoming. This was Thursday evening - Feb 18th.

From Elk Mountain to Laramie the wind was blowing a steady 50-60mph causing near white-out conditions. The road was fairly clean but visibility was awful. Temperature was about 10-15 degrees (F).

I got myself a safe distance behind an 18-wheeler and slowly worked my way along. Sometimes as slow as 15 mph - never more than 30 mph.

There were moments when I couldn't even see the lane markings and the truck lights would disappear. Only for 2-3 seconds at a time but it was nevertheless terrifying.

Even with the stock tires the car handled beautifully. There was 2 or 3 times when a particularly brutal gust would actually push the car sideways a little. As I mentioned, the road was fairly clean but it was starting to get slick in spots. It is unnerving to feel the car moving sideways but it recovered very quickly and stayed in the lane.

The next morning that stretch of I-80 was closed to all traffic...

And to give nerves a break I took the "southern" route back home - I-70 down to Las Vegas then up the California central valley.

That'll be the last time I try driving through Wyoming in the winter!
 

KenC

Active Member
Sep 4, 2018
4,230
3,932
Maine
Wow, glad you made it safely! Driving blind is exhausting and dangerous. I remember being on a business trip near Milan in Winter, and the Po Valley was totally fogged. Couldn't see in front of me, but somehow I made it to within a mile of the factory I was visiting. I turned off the Autostrada around Milan, and passed the toll booth. I could no longer see the road. I called the factory and told them I couldn't make it. The secretary told me that her boss had gone to lunch because he'd already told her I wouldn't make it! I got back on the Autostrada and drove straight to the airport.
 
Glad your decision was based on safety considerations. I have driven once on near white out conditions on Independence pass CO ( 12000ft) and the road ahead had just one car in front and that too suddenly disappeared couldn't see the tail lights anymore , visibility was very poor not more than 20- 25 feet . I had family in the car, it was month of May ( front wheel drive, no chains) and the pass had just opened that day in the morning... It was the most nerve wrecking drive - there was pin drop silence in the car - i guess everyone was praying , few miles down met with sheriffs Depts cars - they told us that they are closing the gates & shutting down the pass road due to safety considerations - fortunately we made it down hill safely -
 
How did Autopilot perform?

I did not try using autopilot or TACC during the really bad conditions.

I did observe that the lane markings on the display appeared to be fairly consistent. There were a few times when the snow was blowing particularly bad that the lane markings - especially the right lane which was the direction from which the wind was blowing - was spotty.

Given the conditions I didn't want to risk the autopilot trying to rapidly adjust to the lane markings. I also didn't want to try using TACC in case the blowing snow would cause phantom braking. I had no desire to end up in a ditch!

As suggested in other forum posts I switched regen to low although I was very careful with the accelerator - didn't make any quick changes to keep things steady.

However, aside from the bad stretch I used autopilot most of the time and it worked very well. No complaints.
 
  • Like
Reactions: XPsionic
There is some interesting history on that portion of I-80. Over 100 years ago, the folks who laid out the Lincoln Highway, the first transcontinental auto route, debated over which route would be best. The route that I-80 takes is the shortest. But it was also well-known to the locals to be bad in the winter. So the LH, today's US 30, went up through Medicine Bow instead. It also didn't hurt that a very politically connected individual had just built a hotel in Medicine Bow and didn't want it to be bypassed... (The Virginian Hotel - which is still there.)

Later when I-80 was built, they chose the shorter route. And here we are.
 

Products we're discussing on TMC...

About Us

Formed in 2006, Tesla Motors Club (TMC) was the first independent online Tesla community. Today it remains the largest and most dynamic community of Tesla enthusiasts. Learn more.

Do you value your experience at TMC? Consider becoming a Supporting Member of Tesla Motors Club. As a thank you for your contribution, you'll get nearly no ads in the Community and Groups sections. Additional perks are available depending on the level of contribution. Please visit the Account Upgrades page for more details.


SUPPORT TMC
Top