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  1. #1

    Default Driving from central Florida to Bellingham Washington in February

    I really need some advice on the best route to take that's going to be the safest. Driving a midsize car with my mom and she seems to think going west then cutting up through California is the safest way. What makes more sense to me is to find the most direct route because there's going to be weather no matter what route you take. Her issue is driving through the midwest and areas that are going to have lots of bad weather, blizzards, black ice, etc. But I am very up to date on weather tracking and keeping an eye on traffic conditions with the weather. PLEASE help end this argument. It's going to be the death of me.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Western/Central Massachusetts

    Default Welcome!

    Welcome to the RoadTrip America Forum!

    Black ice, whiteouts, etc. can be localized events and most weather services will give a "likelihood" of those events. There's certainly less possibility of getting stuck in a blizzard on the longer route, but large snow events like this are generally predicted within enough time to alter one's route if necessary.

    If the primary concern is time, then a direct route generally makes the most sense unless there is going to be periods of harsh weather. And even then, a lot depends on how long that period of weather is going to last. Adding 500 miles to a trip or losing a day of travel works out to be about the same.

    Your best bet from a practical standpoint is to keep track of the weather while you are en route and, if necessary, adjust accordingly. For that reason it is always good to have a couple of alternatives whenever possible.

    With all of that written, if it were me, I'd take the route she suggests for the simple fact that she would have less anxiety about the trip. I find that whenever two people are in a car for long periods of time, it is very helpful to insure that neither of those people are anticipating some type of disaster looming in the near future.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default you're right!

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    I think your logic is 100% spot-on.

    All American Interstates are extremely safe, among the safest highways in the world, and frankly the decisions you make as a driver are vastly more important to having a safe trip than the choice of route. From a pure numbers perspective, you are right, more miles simply creates more potential chances for problems.

    Going via California adds more than 500 miles, which is a full extra day on the road. It also isn't a weather free route by any stretch of the imagination. I-5 has several mountain passes, and especially in Northern California and Oregon often sees winter weather. I-10, while farther south also sees snow and ice. In fact, for a big chunk of last winter, I-10 had actually had more weather related road closings than I-90 across the northern US, which is at least partially related to the fact that it takes much less snow/ice to cause a problem in the south.

    If it were me, I'd take the direct route in a heartbeat, and use the extra time you'll save to sit and wait out a storm in case things get bad.

    But if those facts still don't persuade your mother, then Tim's point to take her route anyway is certainly worth considering. Taking her route won't be any safer, but if it makes her more comfortable, then it may be worth it anyway.

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