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driving alaska highway in december or january

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Miami, FL
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driving alaska highway in december or january

Hi I want some advices of driving alaska highway in winter, I will be driving north from florida on december or january, do I need a block heater? I will appreciate any suggestion.

Manitoba, Canada
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1. Re: driving alaska highway in december or january

A block heater would be a good idea. In really cold weather a cold-start is much harder on your car. You might also want to invest in an in-car warmer to keep the interior a more pleasant temperature, and keep the windows frost-free. I'd suggest all-season tires too. Take along a small snow shovel, a snow brush and ice scraper (if you can't get those in Florida, pick them up at a Wal-mart as you go further north).

Here are a couple of sites with some very good info:

explorenorth.com/library/…ht-akwinter.htm

www.cartest.ca/winter_driving_checklist.htm

Be SURE to have the Emergency/Survival Kit mentioned at the above link. If you get stranded, your life is in danger. BTW, if you do get stuck on the highway in a storm, do NOT leave your vehicle. A lot of people freeze to death trying to walk for help. If you are prepared, you can survive for days if need be. Officials will be out as soon as the storm abates to look for stranded motorists.

You might want to print out the info in the following article about what to do if stuck in a storm: www.montgomerycountymd.gov/firtmpl.asp…

Hopefully you'll never need it, but it could save your life.

I hope you have a safe, fun trip!

Miami, FL
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2. Re: driving alaska highway in december or january

Thank you for your tips of driving in cold weather that will help me in preparing for my trip.

Healy, Alaska
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for Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska
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3. Re: driving alaska highway in december or january

I will just echo what MMaple has already shared with you - being prepared is NOT an option - you can be driving in some of the most deadly weather during that time of year. Once you hit the Yukon/Alaska - that is often when we have our bitterly cold weather - 40-60 below is always a possibility and there is limited daylight driving.

I would recommend not only a block heater, but a battery and oil pan warmer as well - that is what is on my vehicle.

You need the Milepost - it will be exactly what you need to see routes, lodging and restaurants. Always have food and water in your car along with that emergency gear. You will also need extreme winter clothing and a sleeping bag. Keep your gas tank on the full side - always.

You might do a search here on the forum, as I remember someone in the past fews months asking a similar question, and that thread might be helpful to you as well. Good luck! :)

Anchorage, Alaska
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for Anchorage, Zermatt
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4. Re: driving alaska highway in december or january

Hi, I want to add a couple of things - first, have the food, water, coats, gloves, hat (absolutely necessary as most of your body heat goes out of the top of your head), extra socks and shoes (in case your feet get wet) IN THE CAR WHERE YOU CAN REACH THEM! They will be useless in a trunk if you are in a ditch in 3 or 4 feet of snow! Also, put some standard kitchen candles (the inexpensive white ones about 6 inches tall) in the glove box along with matches and tin foil (to wrap around the candles and matches to keep them together and dry and then to use as a tray for the burning candles so you don't get wax on the car or set the car on fire). A small candle will provide light so help others to see you (remember it will be dark about 18 hours a day when you are traveling) but it will also provide an amazing amount of warmth! Remember to put one window down just a tiny bit to allow a little oxygen in because some cars can be nearly airtight! If you plan for three days by the highway, it won't snow a flake and the weather will be exceptionally mild the whole way up - that's almost guaranteed! If you don't, then you will for sure hit well below zero weather with lots of snow storms! Also, plan your stops ahead and call the hotels/motels several days in advance to be sure they will be open because not all are open all winter.

Have a great trip - it's a gorgeous drive so take your time and enjoy the scenery!

sacramento,ca
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5. Re: driving alaska highway in december or january

I am traveling Haines to Anchorage November 4 to 7. The hotel in Haines owner where I am staying on the 3rd said they do a good job of maintaining the road but November is their coldest month. I have a 4Runner new with dedicated winter tires (pirelli) and experience in winter conditions. I carry emergency packs. How long does it take to get to Tok from Haines in good conditions? I have heard the road itself can be treacherous. Your comments appreciated.

AIR RN

Yukon, Canada
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6. Re: driving alaska highway in december or january

First, November is much warmer than January, the coldest month ( …alaska.edu/Climate/…Haines.html ). With a well-equipped 4Runner you won't have any problems unless a storm comes in - in that case just delay a day, because the highways are cleared quickly. In the winter, figure on about 9 hours to Tok in normal conditions. Young's Motel is where I usually stay when I stop over in Tok - no Web site but phone 907-883-4411

Murray

Anchorage, Alaska
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7. Re: driving alaska highway in december or january

There is a battery blanket, oil pan heater and block heater.

We are driving from Anchorage, Dec 30th to Haines, AK. Highly suggested oil pan heater and block heater. The oil pan is self explained but the block heater will keep the coolants warm. The block item should be installed by a mechanic at it attaches to the engine through freeze plug.

We did not get the block heater due to time and it has been MINUS 50 degrees in Glennallen and TOK Alaska. We have been starting the car every hour and a half. If we had the time we would of had the block heater done.

People who have not done this have been stranded.

Have a safe trip. The drive has been beautiful. Lots of moose and one bear seen. The caribou I believe have already passed.

Anchorage, Alaska
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8. Re: driving alaska highway in december or january

There is an abundant amount of great advice on this thread and I will not bore you with being redundant, I will however make one suggestion; purchase a "milepost" book. It is the one item that I will not drive out of Anchorage without. You may be able to purchase one from your local Barnes & Noble, or you can just order one from milepost.com. The Milepost is a mile by mile account of all of the roads leading to Alaska and it will be indispensable on your trip. Most of the businesses will be closed for the winter but you will have immediate access to all of their phone numbers so you can finish your trip plan.

My son just drove from Anchorage to Haines to catch the ferry in a VW Jetta and had no problems on the trip. Actually the roads in Washington and Oregon were in worse shape than AK.

Good luck and be safe

Corvallis
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9. Re: driving alaska highway in december or january

I hope that you get this! Me and a few of my friends are trying to drive up to Alaska this December in the beginning of the month. I'm looking for first hand accounts from people as to how their trip went and some precautions. I've never driven up there before and I'm more than nervous about it. Is there anyway you can give me some advice or let me know what the roads were like so I can be better prepared?

Anchorage, Alaska
Destination Expert
for Anchorage, Zermatt
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10. Re: driving alaska highway in december or january

Hi, RMacBeth - if you do a search in the forum for Alaska Highway, you will find some great threads with tons of information on driving the highway in summer and winter.