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Traveling by Car

Wyoming’s landscapes are beautiful and rugged. The roads that take you through these scenic areas can be impacted by high winds and a variety of weather systems, especially during the winter months. Stay informed and prepared on your road trip through Wyoming with these helpful tips.

Wyoming is a mountainous state, with roads that go up and over mountain passes. Research your route ahead of time to make sure your vehicle can handle any steep grades you might encounter. Similarly, check to see if your ultimate destination involves any rough service roads that could require high clearance or 4-wheel drive vehicles.

Cell service on long stretches of Wyoming’s roads can be spotty. Download all maps and other resources you may need before beginning your road trip so you can stay on course in remote parts of the state. You can also order a free Wyoming Travel Guide for ideas and maps to help your trip stay on track.

Wyoming offers bigger thrills than testing the limits of your gas tank. The stretch between gas stations can get long in certain parts of the state, so play it safe with your fuel levels.

Did you know that Wyoming holds the title of windiest state? Wind speeds of 30 to 40 mph with gusts of 50 or 60 mph are common, which can make driving conditions especially difficult for RVs and tow-behinds. Pay attention to weather conditions and take heed of high-wind advisories; highway signage directs light, high-profile vehicles such as campers and trailers to exit during especially windy conditions, and not doing so can result in a hefty fine.

Keep an eye out for wildlife during your Wyoming road trip, especially around dusk and dawn when animals are most active. It’s common for large animals like pronghorn antelope and mule deer to cross highways, and collisions with these animals can cause major damage and injuries to all involved.

For the most up-to-date Wyoming road conditions, call 1-888-996-7623. You can find more tools, including travel information maps and a mobile app, from the Wyoming Department of Transportation.

Wyoming’s national parks are teeming with wildlife, which is one reason why so many people visit the parks each year. It’s also why speed limits are in place throughout the parks and why it’s so important to adhere to those speed limits. Collisions with wildlife can cause a great deal of damage to your vehicle, your passengers and yourself. Not to mention the animal involved.

Traffic backups in national parks are usually caused by wildlife. If you find yourself in a wildlife jam, stay in your vehicle and patiently wait for any animals to pass through.

Many roads in Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks are closed from early November to late April. During these months other types of travel, such as snow coaches, snowmobiling, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing, are alternative ways to explore the parks.

Winter storms can develop quickly across Wyoming, especially in mountainous areas. Make sure your vehicle is in proper working order, including wiper blades, headlights, taillights and tires. If you’re driving a rental, take the time to familiarize yourself with how to properly work the lights, hazards, wiper fluid and other parts of the vehicle.

It is common for highways to close in the winter due to storms, especially along the east-west Interstate 80, where winter conditions often cause ground blizzards and whiteout conditions. Be prepared to shift your plans and wait out storms if you encounter temporary winter road closures or hazardous driving conditions.

Be prepared for winter travel by keeping certain items in your vehicle like a snow brush, ice scraper, blankets and first aid kit. You can find a full list of items and more on winter driving tips through this WYDOT resource.

Always check weather conditions along your route before leaving by dialing 511 or going to the 511 Travel Information page. If you do get caught in a winter storm, slow down and stay alert.

Snowplows are vital to keeping Wyoming roads clear of snow and ice but move slowly compared to other traffic. Be patient and give plows plenty of room to work; the road behind the plow is safer than the unplowed sections ahead of it. See a big cloud of snow ahead? Look out – it may be a plow at work! Never pass a plow on the right, it may be using its wing plow attachment. Learn more about snowplows here.

Wyoming’s cold, snowy weather can increase wildlife-vehicle collisions. Deep snow can alter daily travel patterns for deer, elk and antelope, where wildlife will find themselves on roadways. The Wyoming Game and Fish Department urge motorists to stay alert for wildlife on the road.

Drivers are encouraged to:

  • Be as aware as possible while driving
  • Use high beams to see more of the road
  • Scan across the road and rights of way frequently
  • Watch for eyeshine in the headlights
  • Ask passengers to help watch for wildlife
  • Wildlife is attracted to the road if salt is used as a deicer and during spring green up. 
  • Avoid herding wildlife off the road with your car. If there is a herd, creep up slowly until they disperse. You can honk to encourage them. If they don’t budge, contact Game and Fish.

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