General Question

Carly's avatar

What's the safest route to drive from Seattle to San Francisco?

Asked by Carly (4550points) August 25th, 2010

My boyfriend just bought a brand new car and he’s driving to SF in a day or two. He’s never driven from WA to CA and he’s not the most experienced driver, but he’s had his DL for about 4–5 years.

I’m assuming he wants to make the trip in one day, but if that sounds like too much, he’ll consider making it a two-day trip.

Any suggestions on routes?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

12 Answers

Zaku's avatar

Just plow straight down I-5. I would make a reservation and stop someplace about half way.

DominicX's avatar

In Seattle, take I-5 south all the way through Oregon and northern California, then get on I-505 south to I-80 and take I-80 west straight into San Francisco. It’s boring and it’s dull, but it’s the fastest and most straightforward way.

It’s also, according to Google, 808 miles. That’s a lot to do in one day…

DeanV's avatar

Safest: I-5.

More fun: 101 to 199 to 5.

Really the safest: Don’t do it in one day.

lillycoyote's avatar

Yeah, I-5. It’s not exactly a dangerous trip unless, of course, the zombie apocalypse just happens to start when you’re halfway between Seattle and San Francisco. There are parts of Southern Oregon and Northern California along that route that are just pretty much long stretches of forest, and it’s actually kind of a pretty drive, if I remember correctly. As the others have mentioned, it might be best to stop for the the night and be well rested the next day, particularly if your boyfriend is not entirely comfortable with that long a drive. And you will be able to see it in the daylight, though the forests are pretty cool at night.

jrpowell's avatar

I-5 to the 80 in Sacramento is easiest and safest. I would probably stop in Medford or Redding. Both places have cheap hotels.

I wouldn’t attempt the drive in one shot.

filmfann's avatar

@DominicX has the correct route. Figure about 12–13 hours. That’s a long haul for someone who isn’t used to the long drive. Stopping in Redding would make it a lot easier.
Careful going thru Williams. the Highway Patrol hangs out in that area boosting the state coffers.

actuallery's avatar

Stay on the road, don’t pick up hitch-hikers, and don’t drink alcohol or use substances that might otherwise affect driving ability or co-ordination. Take breaks as often as needed and don’t speed or tail-gate. Don’t get abusive at other drivers and keep to the speed limit. Get a road map and plan the route before you leave. If possible, do some sight-seeing along the way as you may not get another chance any other time.

selcouthstranger's avatar

Try to avoid driving over Grants Pass in Southern Oregon, or any part of So. Oregon for that matter, at night. It’s all a two-lane freeway and many tight turns for a freeway, and trucks dominate the right hand lane making it a bit too close for comfort.

lillycoyote's avatar

@everyone. Really kids, get a grip, chill out. It’s a trip through the U.S., on an interstate highway, through Washington State Oregon and California. The only real danger they face traveling on I-5 is that they will do something stupid, which is something that that driver has complete control over or they face some danger from someone else driving who will do something stupid and that is why you, the driver, hopefully, have developed some sort of defensive driving skills. It’s just a road, it’s just an interstate. What are you all so worried about? Don’t pick up hitchickers? Duh! And if they are carrying chainsaws, yeah, really, don’t even think about picking them up. It’s just a trip from Seattle to San Francisico.At least one or two people seem to be putting at least one or two layers of nonsense and danger that doesn’t at all need to be there.

Brian1946's avatar

I agree with DominicX: if he takes the 505, he’ll avoid the urban traffic mess that Sacramento can sometimes be.

Rarebear's avatar

It’s a 14 hour drive for one day with good traffic. Not recommended, especially on a highway as boring as highway 5. Drive up to Southern Oregon for the first leg, find a room, and then drive to Seattle for the rest of the way.

jerv's avatar

@lillycoyote I drive I5 daily and trust me, you don’t want to be on the road with that kind of stupidity unless you are awake, alert, and well-rested.
I’ve done some 16 hour drives on interstates with fewer jackasses, and there is plenty of reason to worry after more than half that long.
All the driving skill in the world doesn’t help battle fatigue. Reflexes slow down, and after too long, you might start hallucinating. Maybe nothing major, but enough to miss a road hazard or misjudge distances.

Answer this question




to answer.

This question is in the General Section. Responses must be helpful and on-topic.

Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther