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5 or 101?

Los Angeles...
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5 or 101?

I'll be driving to San Francisco from LA this coming Friday night. Weather.com has informed me that rain is forecast for pretty much the entire drive. My question is whether anyone's got feedback about which highway is more likely to be susceptible to delays in the rain. Also, is tule fog likely to form on highway 5 during a rainy period or only after the rain has stopped? I know that the 5 is extremely boring and the 101 is slightly more scenic, but since it'll be after dark, that's not important to me. All that I'm interested in is cutting back on delays and having a safe drive.

Santa Cruz...
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1. Re: 5 or 101?

I put my opinion on your other thread. Good luck.

Pacifica, California
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2. Re: 5 or 101?

There's no need to make the decision now. You can wait until just before you leave to decide which route to take. Perhaps check the following link before you start your drive.

http://drivei5.com/

Weather notwithstanding, taking 5 would be about 90 minutes faster than 101.

Fremont, California
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3. Re: 5 or 101?

Rain might also mean heavy ground fog on highway 5 - if this happens, I would definitely go with 101. 101 can have fog also - but the inland areas get some really dense fog at times this time of year. For example, I parked the car 10 feet from our hotel and my partner says - Where is the hotel? We actually could not see it (yeah - we had planned to drive further, but decided too unsafe to drive.).

5 is shorter in terms of time if weather is good. However, check the fog reports (versus the rain reports) to decide your route. Either works fine and you can decide the day of. If you drive during the day (versus at night), it also helps a lot this time of year.

Santa Cruz...
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4. Re: 5 or 101?

You can decide at the last minute but I don't think either will have weather specific delays. That being said, 5 is better and if it is night then you don't have to compromise on views. 101 is the more scenic route but I would probably just take 5 and get there a bit quicker.

Los Angeles...
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5. Re: 5 or 101?

Is there a website more specific than weather.com that you would recommend for checking the fog conditions?

I know the drive really well on both highways; this will be my sixth trip to the bay area this year. However, I don't usually go in the winter, and I've never made the trip when rain is predicted across the entire state. My guidelines are usually that I'll take the 101 if I'm driving by myself during the day, so that the monotony of the 5 doesn't drive me crazy. At night or with other people to talk to, I'll take the 5 because it's faster (about 40 minutes faster in my experience). I've heard about terrible fog conditions but have never experienced them myself and sincerely hope not to this week.

Grover Beach...
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6. Re: 5 or 101?

Hopefully fog won't be a problem with your night time drive since a front will be moving through. However, while I-5 might be faster in dry, clear conditions, if it's foggy you will be slowed down considerably. I used to live in the San Joaquin Valley and that Tule fog can be treacherous. Believe me when I tell you that sometimes the fog is so thick you can NOT see beyond the hood of your car. Prepare for driving under 30MPH and be prepared for the idiots who still want to take it at 70! Pile-ups are quite common in the valley.

And here's the thing about fog: it can be perfectly clear one moment and suddenly enter a fog bank. That's when drivers slam on their brakes and accidents occur.

I suggest checking local valley newspapers for fog updates before you depart.

Washington State
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7. Re: 5 or 101?

That tule fog is awful. I've shared this CalTrans commercial before, and I'll share it again: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i8PnA1CqkkY Many years ago on a night drive on some rural roads I had to get out of the car and try to shine a flashlight up to the street signs to see where I should turn; the headlights could not illuminate them. It was scary.

We'll be driving San Joaquin Valley roads in a few weeks, and I'm hoping for rain rather than tule fog. Good luck for your drive!

San Francisco
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8. Re: 5 or 101?

Just did this trip last weekend, in similar weather. I'd go with HWY 5 since it'll be a much faster trip. As you said, it'll be dark and you won't really get to see the scenery anyway.

Berkeley, California
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9. Re: 5 or 101?

This won't be a cold rain, so you probably won't experience any ice or snow problems through the Grapevine. So the big question will be fog. If fog is likely, the 101 will be a far more attractive drive. Weather.com is very poor at predicting fog in my experience, and it is not easy to check the forecast for every town en route, so perhaps there is a better source of information. Try posting in the Fresno forum?

San Francisco...
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10. Re: 5 or 101?

Complete tangent from your thread, but every time I hear about I-5 it reminds me of a movie of the week from 1976 "Smash up on Interstate 5". It was the height of the disaster film era and this made for TV movie chronicles the lives of various characters that get caught in a traffic accident. Perhaps too intense for my 3rd grade mind, but I still remember the movie and have always buckled up, even if I'm just moving my car down the street. ;-)

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0075236/