Road trip advice needed

I’m going on a road trip. Here are the vital statistics:

The car is a 2009 Honda Accord sedan with about 2,000 actual miles on the clock. The distance is 656 miles. I plan to take it all at one shot, starting early in the day around 6AM and showing up at around 11PM (scheduling constraints will not permit an overnight stay during the trip, and it’s not possible to reschedule anything). The tyres are brand new, just like the rest of the car.

So, veteran road trippers - as a big believer in Murphy’s Law, I want to know what could possibly go wrong. I have a spare tyre, a tyre repair kit, and a Black and Decker Start-It jump starter and tyre inflater. I also have USD$500.00 in cash to handle gas money and possible towing fees.

So…am I insane or just plain daring? Would this be a good time to write my last will and testament, or am I just paranoid?

Thank you for your advice, and may God have mercy on my soul - and my car, too. :wink:

The only thing that could go wrong is a flat or a accident. Mechanically there should be NOTHING to worry about. I don’t know of any car that new you’d have to worry about. I wouldn’t hesitate taking (my 4runner (135k miles) or my wifes 07 Lexus (50k miles)) to California and back (roughly 6,000 miles).

You’re just paranoid.

Check the spare. Have a mobile phone. Flashlight is good. If its cold keep plenty of gas in the tank. This is an incredibly routine thing to do.

Why do you think that it will take you 17 hours to drive 650 miles? Unless you’re avoiding or can’t use interstate highways I’d knock a good 6-7 hours off that estimate.

Six or seven hundred miles isn’t too bad of a trip. I’d be more concerned about driver fatigue than mechanical failure on that new of a car. My wife and I routinely make a 1,000+ non-stop drive to Florida on a fairly regular basis.

Just out of curiosity, why are you allocating 17 hours for it? Is it mostly non-highway?

Relax. Your car is practically brand new. You’re worrying about nothing.

I’m leaving tomorrow morning on a 500 mile road trip in a 13 year old car with nearly 130,000 miles on it, and I’m not worried about a thing.

Barring a crash you should have no trouble whatsoever.

Take breaks every couple of hours and walk around a bit. Enjoy your trip.

Unless you have mistyped something, this sounds like a troll post. I would not expect anything to go wrong with a practically brand new car, especially after the first couple thousand miles. Heck, I have a 2006 Accord and would not hesitate to drive 650 miles any day of the week.

It’s possible you meant that you are doing a round-trip in one day and it’s 650 each way. That is a bit of a challenge for you in the stay awake and alert department, but the car won’t have any problem with it.

In 1910, this would have been daring. Today, I’m afraid you’re worrying far too much about this. People drive this far all the time in cars much older than yours. Just make sure you stop for breaks often enough.

Is the car still in the break-in period? If so, avoid the cruise control.

Your 17 hours is way high. Even if stops for gas, some quick food and rest stops, you should be able to get there in 12 to 13 hours. But I would still start early. If you have a relief driver with, you have it made. If not, then get out of the car every hundred miles and walk around for 5 minutes. Use rest stops to make that happen. If it fits your case, remember the bridges and overpasses can be slick until morning traffic melts it off. Only other problem I’ve had is finding the address late at night once I get to an unfamiliar destination. If you have never changed a flat, I would do that once just for practice. Be sure the spare has correct pressure. Many of them don’t. Sounds like your all set. I’m the guy Murphy wrote about, but I learned to really enjoy myself on long trips. Have fun.

I assume you have a cell phone, and you should have a flashlight and ice scrapper in the car if your trip is taking you into “cold” country.

Otherwise you sound overprepared compared to 99.99% of the rest of the cars on the road. Since you must not take trips like this often my main concern is you. Plan to stop for brief breaks to stretch and use the rest rooms about every 120 miles, every 2 to 3 hours. Pack some nice CD’s for some music to stave off boredom. As soon as you feel you are not alert anymore take another break.

Do you know how to check the fluids and tire pressure in your car? You should make sure the oil level is OK, coolant is OK, and tires have the correct pressure in them. If you are not familiar with these items ask the service rep at your Honda dealer to show you how to check these items. When you start your return trip you need to check the oil level, coolant level, and tire pressure again.

I do a similar trip several times a year in my Accord. Mine’s an '86 though.

I got that mileage from my Garmin GPS unit, which is usually pretty accurate about such things. That also includes time to stop for gas, highway rest stops, and so on. I don’t want to arrive at my destination butt-sore.

Agree with other; you are overly concerned. Your car is nicely broken in so you can drive any speed you want. Just check the fluids and the tires, make sure you put WINTER fluid in you windshield washers, at least good for -20F.

On a trip like that I carry a cellphone, AAA card, jumper cables an old bedspread (good for changing tires), and not much else.

By comparison, years ago our family took a 7000 miles road holiday trip through Canada and the Northern states with a 10 year old buick station wagon pulling a camper. Our only problem was a burnt spark plug wire which we replaced for $15.

Unless you have a health problem such as heart desease, don’t worry and enjoy the trip!!!

Merry Christmas

There is no evidence I can see this is a troll. My son-in-law is in his 40’s, and he views the 225 miles from McAllen to San Antonio as a polar expedition. His wife, my daughter, views San Antonio as first restroom break. There are people who simply don’t make long trips and the thought of it scares them.

Unless this is a round trip of 650 miles each way, total 1300 miles, this is not at all insane. That is an average of less than 40 miles an hour. Depending upon the states and the highways, I tend to average very close to 60 miles an hour, except in Texas, go figure.

I am 67, and left my rural Mexican home the morning of Oct. 1, 2009. I drove the 875 miles to Reynosa in two days. Highways are slow in Mexico.

We visited family for around 5 days, then took off for Bowling Green, OH, around 1700 miles. That was too far for two days, so we took three easy days of around 550 miles.

We were there a few days, then drove around 500 miles to the Quad Cities. Two more days, to visit my “foster daughter” in Iowa.

Three days, then we drove the 1375 miles to McAllen. A week, then two days back to our Mexico home, for a total of approx. 5400 miles, arriving on October 31, in time for Day of the Dead, a community reunion of great importance.

Our vehicle is a 2002 Toyota Sienna and when we left here it had around 159,000 miles on it. I balanced the tire pressures and looked at fluid levels and the engine belts before I left, and I changed the Mobil-1 oil and the filter in McAllen,

The only worry for me is you are clearly an inexperienced driver. Sorry, but your words make that clear.

It is impractical to make an experienced highway driver out of you on one Internet thread.

There is a ‘culture’ on the Interstate, assuming that is where you will be. Vehicles interact in a certain way, and if you do this, your chances of wrecks are far less.

First, do not block truck traffic. If you want to drive the speed limit, there will be times when a lot of traffic comes up behind you, and you become an obstacle, which can put you at risk if something happens without warning.

This includes do not drive below the flow of traffic in the left lane, just because you are doing the speed limit. Either stay in the right lane and run with the vehicles there, or get around the vehicles in front and get back in the right lane. There are people who can become dangerous if you get in the left lane and keep other vehicles from moving on past for a long time.

If you find yourself blocked in the midst of a lot of trucks, find a safe way to get out. If you are in the wide open country, such as Iowa or Nebraska, etc., put on your blinkers and turn signal and move over to the shoulder, just long enough to let the trucks go on. If you are in a crowded area, try to find an easy-on; easy-off exit, and exit long enough to clear traffic. Or, a rest stop.

Learn about your 'blind spots." Inexperienced drivers tend to not be aware their rear-view mirrors do not show everything around you. I have little curved thingies on my side mirrors, and I can see everything back there. Without them, you need to do a lot of head cranking before you change lanes, while not losing track of what is ahead of you.

Buy a cheap Rand McNally map book from the local discount star, if you have time. Plug in your starting address and ending address on Mapquest, and print out the directions, then study the map book until you have an idea where you are going and when you need to make changes on the highway.

You will quickly learn how long you can go without restroom breaks. I can go a long ways; except after breakfast when I drink a lot of water; my wife is good for 120 miles or so, due to surgery she had years ago.

I tend to get drowsy in the afternoon, so I take sugar-free caffeine pop, mix it with 50% water so the caffeine doesn’t mess me up with an overdose, and sip all day.

I also take snacks and/or sandwiches. As an experienced driver, I can reach over, snap open the cooler, and eat a sandwich without taking my eyes off the road. Even then, I do not eat or drink anything when there is a vehicle or exit within a considerable distance, or in metropolitan areas.

As a less experienced driver, when you want to eat, find a rest stop or quiet country exit. It’s not worth it for one trip.

There is so much to know about long distance driving, I simply don’t have time to write a book on it.

I took my '87 Accord on a 1300 mile spring break trip a few years ago,

It had 190k + with a carburetor and chunks of rust falling off it,

Guess how many problems I had with the car? 0

I think you should carry the phone number of your like roadside protection included with purchase of car and cell phone and forget about the worries.

Road trip WHERE?? From Phoenix to Austin is one thing, From Boston to Cleveland is something else…You can’t control the weather so locking in your travel date is never a good plan. A standard issue winter storm and your “Road Trip” is over…

@irlandes Thanks for the advice.

My goodness, how could I forget gasoline? On a trip whenever possible I fill at night when I stop. IF the power goes off during the night, I can go another 400 miles without more gas, which should take me out of the blackout. Not that it ever has, I just prefer to avoid the unlikely possibility.

That means to you to fill your car the night before the trip. Be aware, though, do not continue to fill after the automatic shutoff on the gas pump stops the gas the first time. Bad things and expensive things happen in side your car when you go Click! Click! on the pump.

And, clean your wind-shield as best you can.

On your first big trip, we must assume you don’t have a great perspective on how far you can go on a tank. So, don’t. That is, don’t let the tank get below half if you can avoid it. Such things can be learned with experience, but not on your first trip.

It is good to get out and walk around every couple hours. Actually, this keeps you strong all day, as weird as it sounds.

Usually, safe looking rest stops are a good place to walk. My wife and I are older, so we try to walk at least 5 minutes, if we feel tired we go ten or fifteen minutes.

But, you can also use a gas stop for exercise, and if you don’t have enough to eat, grab a cruddy, greasy sandwich, heh, heh.

When you pull into a strange gas station, look it over and respond to your instincts. If it doesn’t look like the gas stations near your home for any real reason, for which you need not apologize, move on. While I hope ethnicity is not a problem because I have lived most of my life in a multi-ethnic environment, too many rusty old cars, too many unkempt or rowdy people, is grounds to move on.

We all think you are going to arrive very early, but if not, try to fill up just before dark. I don’t know about your car, but my Sienna mini-van can go six hours without refueling, so a fill at five should get you where you are going without having to stop in the dark on strange exits.

For rest stops, try to see if they are monitored by staff, for maximum safety.

Do write us a trip report if you have time later.

Caddyman made a good point…a trip from where to where? If you’re going through winter weather you’ll need to prep the vehicle.

Post back and let us know. If Caddyman and my concerns are justified, we’ll want to make some suggestions. If Irlandes’ thoughts are also true that you’re a new driver, we’ll want to make more.

Washington, DC to Columbia, OH. The 656 miles is a round trip.

About road experience - I’ve taken long trips before, up to Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, Washington DC, and Delaware. However, all those round trips were only about half what I’m planning.