advise for 1000 mile winter travel

Posted on 2015-01-16
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2015-09-14
when travelling from Iowa to Hartford (new england) in middle of winter, can you offer suggestion/ideas for smarter move, both logistically and also weatherwise.

it will be a permanent move.. just luggage's and a car.. no furniture etc.
Question by:25112
LVL 33

Assisted Solution

by:Paul Sauvé
Paul Sauvé earned 500 total points
ID: 40553846
Be prepared in case you get caught in a snowstorm:
warm outdoor clothing and boots
snow shovel
'Traction aids' (metal tracks you can put under your wheels in case you get stuck in the snow)
emergency food supply
flares in case of an emergency on the highway
cell phone charger you can use in the car

Assisted Solution

by:Amy Waller
Amy Waller earned 500 total points
ID: 40554123
I've done a similar drive a few times before, going from Boston to Cincinnati. I would certainly check the weather first to make sure that there are no big storms that are coming through, and make sure you are prepared in case there is one.

In terms of route, once you get to Ohio, absolutely take 90 through Buffalo, NY. There may be more snow along this way, but the roads are well maintained, and less crowded. You also stay on the same road the whole time, so you don't have to worry about missing an exit. I've taken the southern route through PA and NYC  because it was more of a "direct" route, and it was horrible. PA is constantly littered with construction. Also, these roads are 2 lanes through the mountains and are lined with Jersey Barriers; this is terrifying with trucks and a 7% grade, regardless of weather.
Then, you have to deal with the rush of NYC (no matter what time of day) and the massive toll on the George Washington Bridge. The road is full of potholes and poorly lined, so if you don't know exactly where you are going it makes it very difficult, especially in the dark or with any precipitation.
Give yourself an extra days time so if you do hit a storm and the driving is tough, you can call it a day and rest. Good luck on your journey!
LVL 24

Assisted Solution

SunBow earned 1000 total points
ID: 40554402
Winterize car, something to heed when not moving as well:

Tire tread

Plan stops, type

stick to interstate
have sufficient fuel for traffic delays
use rest stops for relief
 - except for snowfalls
 - in car you can get beached, even in ruts (made by those with higher carriage- Had that in Ohio)
try rule of using bypass for major cities
 - consider exception, such as Columbus, where you may tie in something unique it offers for entertainment, food, zoo, while not requiring too much travel inner city
Beware Indiana rainfall at freezing. While land is near flat, there's enough slope to keep one sliding way too far with near useless brakes. Ohio and Pennsylvania hit me with worst snow during travel. I top off the tank before heading into mountains whether needed or not.

Have some loud music at ready to help stay awake
Consider both shoeless for comfort, and switch to shoes of pitching pain to increase alertness

Don't follow trucks closely, snow may slide off their roof to your windshield. Watch where truckers go for fuel, food, rest - I'm quite fond of truckstops. Some even have way to get a good washup. Have a good soap and towel ready, consider TP for negligent bathroom attendee, Paper towel for windshield and spills.

Before taking some exit, off-ramp, it is wise to ensure there is corresponding on-ramp to get back on track

For long drive eat light, food points me to siesta - sleepytime for digestion. Consider proper diet.

Minimally have thermos for beverage like hot coffee, sip, don't chug it down. try to have cooler handy. Make list and stock good drinks and food. Fruits and some sandwiches may work out. Consider stop for fast food like McDonalds, easier to find, and have preknown menu. They usually have free refills, get some large cups to drink from now, to drink from for next miles, for thermos. Refills have value.

Have blanket and pillow at ready, sit straight, change sitting position to maximize view and alertness. You can try to wedge jacket or pillow between body and door, pillow for head.

Try to avoid heavy traffic. That can be very tiring. I prefer driving nights, more elbow room on road, rest up for a couple hours if hitting major city at rush hour. Not nice to hit heavy traffic jam when fuel low and need for break is great.

While when cold you want to be warm, when driving you want to be comfortable but a cool breeze can increase alertness. You don't need coat while driving, if sleepy it may help to roll down windows.

Get a nice pair of gloves for driving.

Old rule for stopping at restaurant for first time - go first to their bathroom. It my be in condition to make you not want to stop off there for long.
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LVL 24

Accepted Solution

SunBow earned 1000 total points
ID: 40554693
I've like 80 from Iowa to Chicago, but don't like the traffic on stretch from Chicago to Gary.

There's old rule of driving but 300 mi per day. For 1000 mi, don't do as I, preferring to go straight through and get it over and done with. Where the former takes up most of a week, the latter can be done easily in well under 20 hrs, even with a three hr nap.

Weather: IMO snowing is not so bad for travel unless it it building up on wipers.  Soft snow can permit traction.

Sleet and freezing rain much worse, as roads get too slick, not only during precipitation, but there is the effect of melt & refreeze. The latter can aris from shade. Where car slides to side, While one should remember to 'turn into' direction of slide (to restore traction) and pump brakes (don't force/stomp/hold) I've new rule for traction loss. Where one can turn wheel any direction with seeming no traction, point wheels first straight, then turn slightly to one side to leave lane. Last time I aimed at corner of bumper ahead, and gradually pulled alongside and the car that was behind me hit the one that was in front. Before that I had one where I aimed at tree, and gradually stopped short. I hate getting in middle of being squished.

With those as the more obvious, I recommend being defensive, observing habits of other drivers. Go with flow, but not nice to have one in front who cannot keep foot off bake. They may well hit dry spot before those whoe follow, permitting them a chance to slow down at greater rate then those behind. Just being watchful of tires can give clue before their vehicle has time to turn into you.

The less obvious can be worse for long trip, where you've made it a long way and may be less relaxed about danger - one which could be worse is fog, more of streams and lower lying areas such as when you get to the more hilly. They've obvious affect of loss of visibility outside, but carry additional effect of fogging windshield. Do remember the defroster and potential of A/C to dry air. Try to keep safe driver in front, and warn the ones behind, whether using brakes or emergency flasher. Try to keep clear of tailgaters.

Review history (while it may take but one to start it, the impact can be greater on many others, even beyond view - do keep safe distance, maintain it despite the crazies - you're likely able to catch up to them later when viewing their vehicle far off the road):

Michigan I-94 pileup occurred on accident-prone stretch
a 193-vehicle pileup occurred about 9:30 a.m. Friday, Jan. 9

[while there may be limited lanes to begin with, they may be poorly defined, yet having room during time of strife to make an additional lane or two]

Author Comment

ID: 40579084
points noted down for the trip. thank you!
LVL 33

Expert Comment

by:Paul Sauvé
ID: 40579888
good luck and have a safe trip!
LVL 24

Expert Comment

ID: 40581177
Thanx, &                        ***  Good Fortune ***

Expert Comment

by:AKM Shamsul Alam
ID: 40975900
Invited to you in Bangladesh and stay our 5 star hotel and other facilities. Please visit this website  for "Flat For Rent".

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