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  1. #1

    Default Nighttime drive NYC to Atlanta on Xmas

    I am looking to do a trip from Atlanta, GA to NYC on Christmas day. Actually, Christmas night. I am looking to leave at about 7pm and drive through the night to avoid traffic and feedings(I have a 6-month-old). I was wondering what kind of travel times I can expect with lower traffic levels.

    I am hoping to get there by 8-9am if I can leave Atlanta by 7pm.

    Also, what would be the best route at that time of night? Would it be best to keep on I-85 to I-95 all the way up?

    Hopefully those who have made this trip numerous times might have driven it once at night and can give me a comparison.
    Last edited by Midwest Michael; 12-20-2009 at 07:55 AM. Reason: We're rather you start a new thread for your trip than add onto a "dead" one

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default a bad idea, on several levels

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    I'm sorry, but your current plan is a really, really bad idea.

    Unless you are a 3rd shifter who normally is awake and working throughout the night, it is simply not a good idea to plan to drive through the night. Your body is going to be telling you to sleep while you still have many hours of work ahead of you. Thousands of people get hurt, hurt others, or worse, every year trying to do this sort of foolish thing. Especially with a baby in the car, ir really is not worth it.

    Its also is a pretty bad idea to try to drive nearly 900 miles in one sitting under the best of circumstance. You're looking at a minimum of 16 hours, if you hit perfect conditions (and that's really not likely traveling around christmas on I-95 at any time of day or night). In other words, if you did ignore our advice and left at 7pm, arriving around 11 in the morning would be around your best case once you factor in only very short stops for fuel, restrooms, and brief stretching and moving to help you stay alert.

    Professional Truck Drivers are not allowed to drive this kind of distance in one sitting, for a very good reason. It is extremely tiring and virtually impossible to do it safely. When you throw trying to do it in winter, through the middle of the night into the equation, its practically suicidal.

    Seriously, what you're thinking of doing would be putting your life and your baby's life at risk, and it really isn't worth it. If you need to get there that quickly, I would strongly recommend you look into train or plane options which will get you there safely, and likely more cheaply.

  3. #3


    I should have included this in the 1st post. I will be switching out with another driver so I will not be taking on the whole trip alone. I was hoping the trip could be done in 14 hours, but if I need to plan for more time, or arriving there later in the morning, then you have given me the information I needed. It seems the most direct route is to take I-85 to I-95. however, as I understand it, this route also has the most traffic and tolls.

  4. #4

    Default Tough sledding either way, even with two drivers

    Hello rohan,

    In order to get a feel for the overall distance, I asked Mapquest for directions and got 881 miles, but the route interested me. It gave me ATL-Charlotte-I77 north to Wytheville VA/ I-81 north to Harrisburg, PA/I-78 into Newark, NJ.

    I was expecting I-85 to I-95.

    Excepting Harrisburg, PA to Newark, about which I have no info, there are no tolls the rest of the way.

    There's something of a weather angle to the I-81 routing, too. Getting to I-81 requires crossing the Blue Ridge between Mt Airy, NC and Wytheville, VA. The next 100 miles up I-81 are in between the Blue Ridge and the Alleghenies at moderate elevation. The chance of winter weather is somewhat greater up there than 85/95.

    Nine hundred miles in one sitting, even with a co-driver, is exhausting. Adding to that is entry to a very congested urban area at each end. I'd sure try to break it up with a quick motel stop.

    Travel safe and have a successful Road Trip.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default changes little

    Even with 2 drivers, this really is a monsterously long drive for one sitting, and it still doesn't change the fact that trying to undertake that kind of massive ordeal overnight is still an accident waiting to happen.

    It really is not worth risking your life, your baby's life, and the lives of others who you will be sharing the road with. What you want to do is every bit as dangerous as driving drunk - if you wouldn't think of driving drunk with a baby in your car, please reconsider trying to do the drive as you've currently proposed.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default For Emphasis

    I have to totally agree with both Michael and Foy - This is a terrible idea. You and your driving partner will be starting out sleep deprived if you have a 'normal' Christmas, even more so if there are small children involved. Then, in the early morning hours of Dec. 26th, when you are both dog tired, one of you will be having to try to stay awake and handle (probably) heavier than normal traffic and (possibly) inclement weather. And they'll have to do this with no one to monitor them. In the best(?) of cases, you need two people awake on an overnight run, with the navigator also serving to talk to the driver and make sure that (s)he doesn't nod off. You can't do that and you'll be expecting your driver to stay awake with no company, no music, no nothing. Coffee and 'energy' drinks simply won't cut it. I strongly urge you to reconsider this drive. And as Michael pointed out, even if all goes well this will not be the 14 hour drive you were hoping for, but much closer to 16½ hours.


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Lovettsville, VA/DC Metro Area


    As everyone else has said - BAD IDEA!!!! Even with 2 drivers you won't be able to do it safely and the weather is looking like it will be bad. As of right now they are calling for freezing rain in the DC area for Christmas and you would have to drive through that (of course I'm sure the forecast will change numerous times between now and then but it is something to take into consideration). I know it's Christmas and am sure you're driving up to spend time with family but I really don't think it's worth it and I'm sure your family would rather have you be safe (and alive) than spend a few days with them. Plan something for a later weekend with them when you are able to break the drive up and stop somewhere for the night mid-way, I'm sure your family will understand. Also, I have a 15 month old and from experience I'm sure your baby won't sleep through the night like you think. Both my husband and I are or have been professional drivers and we would not even attempt something like this especially during the holidays when there are other drivers on the road that are driving while tired and worn out from celebrating (or in some cases even drunk). I always tell my husband - it's not necessarily his driving I'm concerned about but the other drivers on the road as well, it only takes one of them to cause a wreck...

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