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  1. Default Solo cross country winter trip Los Angeles to New York City.

    Hi all! I have to make a cross country drive by myself from Los Angeles, CA to NYC the second week in December. It's not an ideal time as we're getting into the winter season. Does anyone know the fastest and safest route to take? I do have a place I can stay over in Columbus, OH so if the route can take me through there- great! Thanks for your help in advance!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default Standard Winter Travel Advice

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    It is not the route that makes a trip safe, but the skill and attitude of the driver. And 'fastest' and 'safest' are often contradictory terms in winter driving. It is true that generally the 'best' winter route is the most direct all-Interstate route, because Interstates are built to specifications that limit how steep any hill can be and how sharp any curve can be ('not very' in both instances. Interstates also receive priority when it comes to allocating plowing/salting/sanding resources, so they are more likely to be open and clear. Finally, by definition they have no cross traffic minimizing opportunities for accidents. BUT they are still subject to all the elements and ultimately it's up to you as the driver to determine when conditions are just to treacherous to carry on, and call it quits for a while until the weather passes and the roads are dry again. That's another advantage the Interstates have, there is usually some sort of lodging near almost every exit.

    So, what's the most direct all-Interstate route from L.A. to NY? Simple: I-15 up to I-40 east to Oklahoma City, I-44 to St. Louis, I-70 through Columbus, I-76 to Carlisle PA, I-81 to just past Harrisburg PA and I-78 into NYC. Nominally, that should take just about five days of steady driving, but you should budget six for any weather delay plus whatever time you'd like to spend in Columbus.

    AZBuck

  3. Default

    Thank you for the response. I agree with what you said. I have no qualms about stopping if the weather looks bad.

    I have a question that may make me look dumb but when taking the different interstates do I just follow the signs for it or am able to put something into google maps or my gps? As you can see I'm heavily dependent upon these things. I drove across the country last year with a friend but we had all different stops planned so its different than the trip I'm trying to make now which is to just get home.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default The Tool Between Your Ears

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    If you read through the many responses given here with regards to GPS, you will find a common idea: GPS is a tool that can help with navigating, but it cannot be the only tool and you can't use it for tasks it wasn't intended or designed to do and you can't over-rely on it - not if you want to be sure of getting to your destination safely and consistently. Ultimately you and ONLY YOU are responsible for navigation during your trip.

    So before you set out on a drive you should have already studied some maps (paper or on-line) and have a good idea of where you're going on this segment of your trip: how far you'll be going, what routes you'll be using, where (roughly) the junctions between routes are, major towns and cities en route, etc., etc., etc. Blindly following a GPS is as good a way to get into trouble as has been invented.

    Very generally, major Interstate routes (I-40, I-70 and the like) will continue for hundreds of miles with no need for any turns or changes of road. A GPS can be a good reminder of when your turn is coming up after such a long stretch. But through some towns, you do not want to stay on the main Interstate which usually goes through the heart of downtown with all the traffic headaches that implies, but rather use a beltway or bypass route. Oklahoma City and St. Louis are two good examples. You can follow I-40 to its junction with I-44 in downtown OKC, but an easier routing would be to take the John Kilpatrick Turnpike from the west side of the city around to the north and join I-44 without ever having gone through OKC. In St. Louis I-44 technically never hooks up with I-70. You can either take I-44 all the way to the end, get on I-55 north for a short bit and then take I-70 (duplexed with I-64 and I-55) across the Mississippi River, OR (my choice) leave I44 and get on I-270 southwest of the city, take that east across the river, and get on I-255 north to I-55 to I-70 east.

    Your GPS may indeed take you those ways, or it may (as mine did when I was trying to drive into Montréal on a Friday afternoon) direct you to use a railroad bridge. The point is, it is up to you to know where you're going, then use the tool, GPS, to help you. Unfortunately too many drivers today have only a GPS in their toolbox and are subject to the old handyman's adage: "When all you've got is a hammer, everything looks like a nail."

    AZBuck

  5. #5

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by LeeCC View Post
    Thank you for the response. I agree with what you said. I have no qualms about stopping if the weather looks bad.

    I have a question that may make me look dumb but when taking the different interstates do I just follow the signs for it or am able to put something into google maps or my gps? As you can see I'm heavily dependent upon these things. I drove across the country last year with a friend but we had all different stops planned so its different than the trip I'm trying to make now which is to just get home.
    You can follow just the signs if you know ahead of time which routes you want to take. However that calls for you to get on google maps, etc. Then write down the route numbers and at which point you change from one route to the next.

    I do not like for a GPS to guide me because it does not always plot the best way. Or take me the way I would like best.

    Though after studying the maps and you program the route you want into your GPS then you would have the best of both worlds.

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