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  1. Default Making road trip alone advice?

    Hello, I am 18, and tomorrow planning on making a road trip that will be about 700 miles alone. Besides stopping every now and then for scenery or food, i don't plan or stopping for sleep, so i am estimating about a 10-12 hour trip. Any tips or ideas on extra safety i should take? What about ideas of making sure I stay awake?

    also, I am considering leaving at about 9:00 p.m., and arriving around 9:00 a.m., not only because I am most awake during that time to begin with, but because I have a theory that if i drive in the middle of the night, there will be less cars on the road, thus less chance for a collision. Do you think this theory holds up?

    Basically, i am just slightly hesitating on whether this is a good idea or not, so i am open to any input.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,060

    Default Is this really a good plan?

    Quote Originally Posted by clar4171
    Hello, I am 18, and tomorrow planning on making a road trip that will be about 700 miles alone.
    Welcome to the Great American RoadTrip Forum! The solo part sounds fine, driving all night unless you are used to driving at night sounds unwise in the hundredth power!
    Besides stopping every now and then for scenery or food, i don't plan or stopping for sleep, so i am estimating about a 10-12 hour trip.
    You will be hard pressed to cover 700 miles in less than 13 hours.
    What about ideas of making sure I stay awake?
    Travel during the day!
    I have a theory that if i drive in the middle of the night, there will be less cars on the road, thus less chance for a collision. Do you think this theory holds up?
    The theory has flawed assumptions -- accidents happen proportionally higher at night due to operator fatigue. Here are some tips about fatigue.

    Mark

  3. #3

    Default

    Clar- I'd have to agree with Mark. Traveling at night doesn't make a whole of sense, especially if you plan on a high mileage day. Your 'slightly hesitating' is the clue.

    I've done numerous 600 mile days on all backroads, but the trick is I left my house early, about 4 am, with plans to ride till dusk, than boogie to a hotel. But I stop a lot and take tons of pictures which paces the day against fatique. Enjoy the journey and take your time.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,064

    Default Night Driving

    I will agree that the odds of a collision are significantly higher at night. Not only are there fatigue issues, but other things like Wildlife for example, are not easy to see at night.

    Considering the distance, which is very long for a solo trip in one day, and from the sounds of things, this will be your first major roadtrip, I would not recommend the overnight journey.

    Once you have a little more experience of knowing how you will react to such a long drive, then you can make a better judgement of how much of the drive you want to try at night. Personally, I've made many long distance trips at night, particularly back in my college years when I would frequently take 300 mile trips in the dead of the night, but it is challenging and even then there were trip where I had to pull over and close my eyes for a while.

  5. #5
    RoadTripper Brad Guest

    Default From a Night Owl

    I agree with Mark & Co. that there are dangers that come along with night driving, but for night owls (like myself), driving late at night is usually better. I find I don't have as many distractions if I drive late at night cross country. When ever I do my speed runs from Arizona to the PNW (or back), I usually leave at 1 or 2 am and stop early in the evening. I have always prefered the overnight hours for some reason.

    Even in the really dark outlying areas of Northern California near Shasta, I just kept the high beams on when applicable and kept alert.

    This is just my preference. It seems I go against the grain on this one!

    -Brad

  6. #6

    Default

    I drive quite long distances overnight in the UK all the time but I usually work til 4am so that fits in with my normal semi-nocturnal pattern, plus my usual London to Glasgow trip is only 420 miles which is an easier proposition than 700!

    What I find makes a huge difference though is the lighing on the roads. With Britain being so much smaller it's no big deal to light all the motorways, which makes concentrating on the road ahead far far easier.

    I found driving on the unlit freeways in the States took FAR greater amounts of effort and concentration. I really don't think I could cope for more than a couple of hours at a time. I found the same thing with the unlit roads in Australia too: constantly having to cover the brakes when an animal suddenly appeared at the roadside was very mentally fatiguing. In daylight you can see much further ahead and take more time deciding what's a potential hazard and what isn't.

    I see your point about the amount of traffic: that's why I tend to travel overnight here, since I can do the overnight trip to London in six and a half hours instead of eight if I go during the day. But you must make sure you get there in one piece, even if it takes a little longer!

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