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  1. Default Seeking safe route from Boston MA to Los Angeles CA

    I am seeking the safest route from Boston MA to San Francisco CA in January 2008, I am not interested in sight seeing, but time is important to my trip as I would like to make it there in at least 4 days.

    Safety is my #1 concern here and I have never made this trip, does anyone have any suggestions?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default Its not the route that should worry you

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    I really wouldn't worry about one route over another for safety. If you're sticking to the interstates, you'll be traveling on one of the safest highway systems in the world.

    Your direct route in this case would be I-90 to I-80.

    If you are concerned about safety, what you should be taking a look at is your timeframe. You're looking at a 3000 mile trip, so to complete this in 4 days, you'll need to be on the road for 750 miles a day. That is far more than can safely be recommended for a multi-day trip. You'll need to be on the road 14 hours a day for each day of your trip. Simply put, that much time in a car can be very fatiguing, and if you're tired, you're not going to be as safe behind the wheel. And if you do make it to your destination in one piece, you will be completely exhausted by the time you get there.

    I'll also note that this pace is faster than what professional drivers would be legally allowed to do, because of safety concerns.

    If safety is your #1 concern, you should really look at adding 2 days to this trip.

  3. Default Thank you!

    Thank you for your response. It sets my mind at ease knowing that these highways are safe routes to travel! Should I be concerned with heavy snowfall on any area of the trip?

    I will be sharing the driving with my boyfriend and we arent under intense time constrictions, our goal is 4 days if we need to take 5 or 6 then that is ok too.

    Do you have any suggestions for safer areas to stop in and sleep or, are there any cities or towns along the way I should avoid?

    Thanks again for your great advise!!

  4. #4


    Depends completely on the area. I tend to pull off the road when I get tired and stop if I like the look of the place. If it looks slightly dodgy then it probably is and I'll carry on til the next area. You've spent years honing your personal safety radar in your local area and you'll be pleased to know it'll work well wherever you are... just keep your wits about you as you would in your own town, trust your first impressions and you'll be fine.

    I fully agree that 700-800 miles a day is likely to be tiring so I'd set myself an upper limit of say 7 days and then just drive. Stop regularly and then stop for the night when you feel tired. If you make it in 4 days, great, if you don't well... you don't. Don't try to do too much.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Keithville, LA

    Default Safety

    I saw a phrase on here once that helps when people are concerned about safety. Every place is someone's hometown.

    I did a 4100 mile trip alone this summer and never once did I feel concerned for my safety. Was I cautious? Yes. Did I take in my surroundings? Yes. But no more so than I would here in Shreveport.

    As Craig said - you have a built in radar telling you what is a good situation and what is a bad. Just listen to it.


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default Some more safety tips

    Quote Originally Posted by erin.bean28 View Post
    Safety is my #1 concern here ...does anyone have any suggestions?
    Here is an article we published with some more safety tips and this one details some helpful hints for solo travel.


  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default Adding the weather

    I figured 6 days for this 3000 mile trip as a very safe and reasonable pace for this trip, but I also figured ideal conditions. While its entirely possible you will get those conditions in January, I'd say the odds don't stack up well.

    You're going to be traveling through the Great Lakes region, and you'll be at a pretty good risk of seeing heavy snow from Albany all the way to Chicago, if you avoid snow there, you could also run into snow across the plains of Iowa, Nebraska, or Wyoming, and of course you could always find snow going through the mountains in California.

    I'd say with a chance of seeing snow in at least one of those areas in fairly high. It might not be a major storm, but its likely it would at least slow you down somewhat.

    Again, considering your priority is making this a safe trip, I would keep things very flexible. If everything goes very well and you can tolerate some long hours int the car, you might be able to make this trip in 5 days, but I would have at least 7-8 days set aside for this trip, just in case you need to sit out a storm for a day or two.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Central California

    Default Safe and...


    Or mostly likely so. A northern route from Boston to San Francisco in January seems slightly chancy from a weather point of view. If time isn't a big factor, then why not take it easy and head south on I-81 then catch I-40 to I-5 to SF. That should keep you south of the worst of the weather on a trip that is about 3,400 miles one way, in about 6 days. If the weather looks bad from Albuquerque to Flagstaff you can dip down to I-10 and just add about 200 miles to the trip.

    Have fun and stay safe,

    Craig Sheumaker
    co-author of the travel guide: America's Living History-The Early Years

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default An alternative viewpoint

    A northern route from Boston to San Francisco in January seems slightly chancy from a weather point of view.
    In the winter, the most direct way is usually the best. And, if there is no guarantee that you will escape ice storms and snow if you go the souther route -- I have seen remarkably bad ice conditions along I-10. If it were, me, I would always take I-80 over I-40 if winter weather was predicted.


  10. Default Thank You!

    Thank you to everyone who has posted responses on here, you have all be tremendously helpful. I am so excited for this trip! I guess I will just be prepared for everything and take it one day at a time once we head out there! I plan on assembling an emergency kit anyways just in case!

    Thank you again, you have all been so helpful.


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