For the last 25 years my job had me driving to the Bay Area from Reno. At least twice and sometimes 3 times a month, I would drive down on Tuesdays and drive back on Fridays.
In the winter, going over Interstate 80 thru the Sierras and Donner Pass (elev 7000') could get dicey. There are many stories of people taking 8 hours (vs 4hrs normally) or more to go from Reno to the Bay Area' because they got stuck in snow closure or chain controls. To avoid getting stuck on I-80 because of snow closures or severely slowed down traffic because of chain controls, during the winter months I would always do the following:
1) Using the Weather Channel app I checked the current and hour-by-hour forecasted weather for several towns at higher elevs along I-80 (eg Norden, Truckee, Soda Springs, etc).
2) Using the CARR app, I could check road conditions, closures, chain controls, and road cameras. Checking road cameras I found was one of the best ways of checking if snow was falling along the route. So far, the CARR app only works in Calif. I've traveled in winter in Oregon and Washington and they have similar websites.
3) When I was en route and if there was a threat of snow in the Sierras, I'd call the CalTrans Highway Information Service (800-427-7623) to get the latest road conditions.
4) Finally, the most important thing was, unless absolutely necessary, I did not drive over I-80 if it looked like chains were going to be required. Even though I have 4WD and M+S rated snow tires and therefore not required to chain up, I preferred to avoid all the other crazy drivers, especially those that had little experience driving in snow/ice. I also wanted to avoid the bumper to bumper traffic that occurs when chains are required.
2006 E350 SMB RB50 6.0 PSD