If you a planning an interstate highway trip across the United States, choosing the right route can be the difference between a smooth trip and a hectic adventure. The biggest obstacle of course is inclement weather. Running into bad weather can make a trip by car almost impossible and delay your trip for days. While there is no perfect choice when it comes to an interstate highway from coast to coast, here is a guide to the 4 major routes and the potential hazards that come with them.
Interstate 40 – For Coast to coast travel, Interstate 40 is often a good choice. I-40 cuts across the center of the United States and is a true coast to coast route, beginning in Los Angeles, California and ending in Wilmington, North Carolina. Expect it to be free from snow for much of the year, however during the mid-winter months there can be a danger of snow, especially when the route passes through Albuquerque, New Mexico and Flagstaff, Arizona. There is also a seasonal hazard of severe thunderstorms in the Midwest which can include tornados. As far as a scenery is concerned, this can really be a beautiful drive, especially through the Appalachian, Ozark and Rocky mountains. The road also passes nearby the Grand Canyon, but you have to leave the interstate to see it.
Interstate 80 – Interstate 80 is another choice that is a little bit farther to the north. It begins in San Francisco, California and ends in New York City. Of course in the northern states, snow is a much bigger factor in the winter months. To travel this route during the winter season it’s going to be extremely important to pay attention to the weather report and plan your trip accordingly. Also, you’re going to want to bring a winter safety kit along just in case you run into trouble.
Interstate 90 – The farthest north of the coast to coast set, Interstate 90 begins in Seattle, Washington and ends in Boston, Massachusetts. I-90 isn’t actually a true coast to coast route as it joins I-80 for a portion of its length in order to skirt the great lakes, but it definitely deserves mention. Because it is so far north, snow and cold weather is a significant hazard for much of the year. A winter safety kit is an absolute necessity when travelling this road from September to May. However this is arguably one of the most scenic routes to cross the country offering the driver views of 4 mountain ranges, the Great Lakes, the Badlands of North Dakota and the Columbia River Gorge in Washington State.
Interstate 10 – The farthest south of the interstate highways is the only coast to coast route in the nation that is permanently free of snow. This highway begins in Los Angeles, California and ends in Jacksonville, Florida. Although it can be a bit out of the way for some travelers beginning their journey farther north, travelling via I-10 can be a good choice to avoid severe weather during the midwinter months. However during the summer temperatures along the route soar, sometimes above 100 degrees especially as the highway passes through Phoenix, Arizona. You’ll want to keep that in mind when planning a trip during the summer season as it can be a hazard especially for older cars.