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  1. #1

    Default First Solo road Trip Coming Up in the Spring

    I suppose I am what one could consider an amateur driver. I've been behind the wheel for close to 2-and-a-half years and have had my full license for over 1 year.

    My original plan was to drive from West Point, New York to Sanford, North Carolina (About 583 Miles, 11 Hours) and spend a few days there and then move on to Muncie, Indiana from Sanford (610 miles, 11-and-a-half hours) spend a couple of days in Muncie at a friend's place and then drive back to West Point at the end of the week (686 miles, 13-and-a-quarter hours).

    This plan, I have been told, is too ambitious and my parents have even referred to it as 'crazy'. I respectfully disagree with their assessment, they've told me i need to choose one location or the other and they will help me get there. I really want to, and hope to, go to both places. However I refuse to do so until I have a reasonable and acceptable plan for doing so, one that is safe because that's probably my top priority, the safety of myself and my car.

    So I've been thinking through this for a while and I've decided that given certain restrictions and safety guidelines to follow I may be able to convince them that this trip is not too far out of my reach, that i can do it, and that i can be incredibly responsible about it.

    Here is what I have come up with so far:

    -Call every 2-3 hours of driving (if stopping to do so is not possible at that point i will employ the use of a Bluetooth Car Kit linked to my Cellphone)
    -If at any point I fell like I am going to fall asleep while at the wheel I will find a rest stop to pull over at and take a power nap and maybe grab some coffee or caffeine to give me a boost (I've also heard Five Hour Energy works well, can anyone verify that?)
    -I think, and anyone who disagrees with me I'd like you to argue a case for it, that at my skill level driving 11 hours all at once IS ambitious, it's not that i'd be uncomfortable with the idea of it and I know I could do it safely but I think it just may be too much for one day . Between West Point and Sanford I already have a half-way point where I can stop for the night and resume driving in the morning, other than that I would intend to raise money and find a motel/hotel in or near Charleston, West Virginia for the trip between Sanford and Muncie and another one at a half-way point between Muncie and home. I'm thinking 5-7 hours a day is enough. What does the community think?

    So I want to know what you all think, obviously my parents are the final authority on this and I will respect their decision after they've heard my plans. Do you think this is too much for one 18 year old to handle in the course of a week? Do you think the plans are too ambitious? And lastly do you have any more suggestions as to how i can make the trip less stressful and more safe for both me and my parents?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default I'm With Your Parents

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    To be honest, I don't think you're going to find many people here taking your side on this one, particularly against your parents. The simple facts are: The drives you propose would tax a serious long haul RoadTripper, let alone one with all of a year under full license, and would be illegal for anyone with a commercial license. The estimates for driving times that you're getting from software routines are ludicrous at best and are based on the assumption that you never need to stop or even slow down; not for traffic, not for fuel, not for food, not even to go to the bathroom. Caffeine and 'energy' drinks are no substitute for a well rested and alert driver, and being kept awake by drugs certainly will not make you a safe driver. Calling from a cell phone while driving is illegal in many states, even more since yesterday, Relying on your own judgement to tell you when your own judgement can no longer be trusted and you'll need to sleep is illogical at best. Sleeping in rest areas is illegal in most states and the notion of a 'power nap' has no basis in reality.

    Insurance companies charge a premium for young (under 25) drivers for a very good reason - they have more accidents. If you read any books on the development of the human brain, you soon come to realize that the increased number of accidents is NOT due, as some would claim, to inexperience as a driver but rather to the inability of the not as yet fully formed brain to make critical and responsible decisions. Trying to take a RoadTrip that requires you to make these drives of 600-700 miles in a day is a case in point.

    To do this trip safely, you would need to devote 1½-2 days to each leg, which would leave you no time at your destination. That begs the question: Why are you so set on this?


  3. #3


    Sir, first off let my say I appreciate your reply. But frankly I don't think you read my post carefully enough. I did not propose to drive a whole 11-13 hours in one day, also I provided the estimated mileage and times for the convenience of members on the boards. It would be naive and stupid to think that driving that long would not need to stop for fuel and gas, I fully realize that what mapquest estimates is an 11 hour trip is more like a 13-14 hour trip including stops, refueling, etcetera.

    It would not be my first time on a road trip, however it would be my first time driving it alone. So i've now been informed that caffeine and energy drinks and the like are not a great idea. Therefore i am inclined to ask what is a good idea?

    Furthermore i am very well aware of the dangers of using a cellphone while driving, that is why I would find a rest stop or similar area every 2-3 hours or so to stop at and make my phone calls, i said above that if stopping is not possible i would use a hands free device liked through Bluetooth technology to my phone so i could voice activate my calls.

    Also, as stated above i did not propose to drive 11-13 hours in one day for any of the leghs of the trip, i suggested that hotel/motel rooms at halfway points were reasonable because that would give me 5-7 hours of driving a day and adequate time to rest before having to get back behind the wheel.

    I honestly cannot understand why any of this is unreasonable. Yes, i agree that overall the driving portions of the whole trip would add up to between 4 and 6 days but i believe wholeheartedly that the schedule permits for that.

    And lastly you asked why i am so set on this. Sir, my best friends are in these two locations, one of them just returned from a year long tour in Iraq. I haven't seen these people in some time and they essentially a part of my family. I figure any amount of time i can spend with them is worth any trouble it takes to get to them. Secondly, i think a solo trip would do me some good, i'm constantly surrounded by people and problems and i feel this would be a great time to reflect on myself, a bit of a spiritual journey you might say. And third i have a strong sense of adventure, i like to get out and do things, see people and have fun. That is, in short, why this is such a big deal to me.

    If this trip happens the proposed schedule would look something like this:

    Friday: Early afternoon departure, arrive in Washington D.C. between 1900-2100, stay at Brother's Fiance's Apartment for the night.
    Saturday: 0800 Departure from DC arrival in Sanford between 1400-1600.
    Saturday Night through Tuesday Afternoon: Stay in Sanford with my friend and his parents.
    Tuesday: Mid Afternoon departure, arrival in Charleston, West Virginia between 1900-2200
    Wednesday: 0800-1000 departure for Muncie, arrival in Muncie between 1500-1700.
    Wednesday Night through Saturday Afternoon: Stay at friends house in Muncie.
    Saturday: Afternoon departure, arrival at mid-point (undetermined) between 2100-2300
    Sunday: Complete the drive home back to West Point.

    Thanks you for any more input you may have. I am not asking anyone to help me deceive or trick my parents into doing anything here, i'm simple looking for ideas to make this a safe and successful trip. I realize that driving can be taxing, and i know there are dangers out there but i believe wholeheartedly that this can be tackled, i would certainly not be the first young person to do something like this and do it successfully.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default another approach

    I can respect your goals and ideas, and I see a little of myself in your planning.

    However, I also think you're really going about things the wrong way. Instead of trying to prove to every adult that they are wrong, take a look at why they have the concerns that they do.

    I don't think your current plan as you've laid out is completely unreasonable. However, the one thing that no one here knows, and your parents do, is how mature and ready for this serious responsiblity you really are. I can say simply based on how you've approached your questions and responses to Bucks advice that I have a feeling your parents have good reason for their concerns. You're trying to prove that you are right about everything, rather than trying to find a good compromise (its nothing personal, and really quite common for a teenager, and I'm sure I did the same sorts of things when I was your age not that long ago).

    When your parents reaction to your plan is that it is "crazy" I don't think there is much you will be able to do to prove that you are ready for this trip. If they are open to letting you go to one of the places, I would start there, and let your actions prove that you are right. Once you've got some experience under your belt, it should be much easier to show that you can do a larger trip in the near future.

  5. #5

    Default Prejudice?

    You're trying to prove that you are right about everything...
    On the contrary, AZBuck seems to make the argument that Tru3Flight91 shouldn't do the trip because he or she is a teenager and thus incapable of exercising good judgement, and supports this argument with a variety of points: he or she plans on using a cell phone while driving, plans to drive these distances in single days, doesn't understand that MapQuest's estimates don't include traffic and the like, etc.

    Tru3Flight91 then clearly explains how none of these points are accurate, which is fairly clear from a reading of the OP without an eager urge to jump to conclusions. I don't consider this to be "trying to be right about everything".

    You can still make the argument that because he or she is 18, he or she isn't capable of making good judgement calls, but from everything I read here good judgement doesn't seem to be the issue. The question is whether or not a year of driving experience is enough for a trip like this one, and whether or not a trip of this kind would be worthwhile.

  6. #6


    BlueCuzco, thank you for your support and Midwest Michael i appreciate your reply as well. All i did in my second post was restate what i had said in my first, from the reading of AZBuck's comment i felt that he had not read through my post and had simply jumped to conclusions about my maturity level and supposed lack of planning.

    The fact is i want to make this trip work, I want to find ways to do it safely, and i want the community's suggestions. Now, i know my opinion probably doesn't mean much but i regard myself as a highly responsible young adult. I know that i can handle this trip.

    So far all i have recieved is a small argument over whether or not i am responsible enough to handle it, while i hope you took what i said with a bit of weight, if i can't tell you how responsible i am i really do not know who can, i pride myself in being an incredibly honest individual.

    So all i'm asking for here is a little advice, and a little help, in finding ways to make this trip work out for both me and my parents. I'm going to be stubborn about it, and i'm sorry if some of you are unhappy about that. I've spent the majority of my life proposing ideas, receiving negative answers and then just backing down. This is one of those things where i am going to stand up and fight for what i want, a lot of the times i dont get what i want, or anything close to it, so i feel that maybe for once i can show my parent's how responsible i really am and that i can do this without issue. Sure there is always going to be an inherent risk in driving distance (or driving at all) but i'm looking for ways to minimize many of those risks. I understand my parents concerns and worries, don't think i'm ignorant of them.

    Once again, thanks you all for any further responses.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia


    As the mother of five, I have been through this scenario.... five times.

    In support of AZ and Michael (and all parents) I urge you to listen to those who know you best, and have your best interests at heart. Research the statistics on road fatalaties and injuries. The under 25 age group is the highest represented in these statistics. And I am sure that everyone of these drivers knew that he/she could safely make their journey. Spare your parents the agony suffered by the parents of all those drivers, and listen to their advice. If you do, chances are you will have a lifetime of long roadtrips ahead of you.

    Lifey who understands the eagerness of youth

  8. #8


    Lifemagician, thanks for the reply. I'm curious, every one of the five times you came upon this scenario what was your reply? Did you ultimately allow your children to go or no? And if you did what were your caveats, what did you have them do to help put your mind at ease?

    As stated above i know there is an inherent risk in driving anywhere and that the further you drive the more of a risk there is, however I need you to speak to me from experience and not quote statistics, in facts statistics are the last things i want to hear. If i was interested in the probability of getting into a crash for my age group (which frankly I'm not) i would have looked it up already. There are ALWAYS going to be people making mistakes and getting into collisions on the road, it doesn't matter whether you are 18 or 48. Everyone takes the same risks sitting behind the wheel, all i'm trying to do is minimize the risk as much as i can, make an acceptable plan, and alleviate my parents fears, even if it's only by a little.

    Also, i believe that the more one dwells on something bad happening the more likely it is to happen, if i spend all my time thinking about getting into a collision then there is that much more of a chance it'll happen because i'm too worried about it happening and end up taking my focus off the road. It should be, in my opinion, a matter of prevention and not intense anticipation, which are two totally seperate things.

    Furthermore, i know my parents love me ma'am, i know they're looking out for me, but i also know that they trust me. I've never been a bad kid, i do what i say i'm going to do, keep my promises. They really never had a reason not to trust me and i don't intend to give them any. And i understand their trepidations, i cannot know what they're thinking but that doesn't mean i cannot understand what they are thinking.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Sorry We Couldn't Give You What You Wanted

    You initially asked for our help in determining if "this [was] too much for one 18 year old to handle in the course of a week", if we thought "the plans [were] too ambitious", and "how i can make the trip less stressful and more safe". However, when you got responses from two of out most prolific advisors that, in fact, in their opinion the plan was too much for you to handle and that the information you were basing your plans on was faulty, you chose to ignore that advice and indeed stated that you were going to be stubborn and "This is one of those things where i (sic) am going to stand up and fight for what i (sic) want". It is clear, therefore that you have no intention of taking our advice and that the usefulness of this discussion is at an end.


  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default more than that

    Listen, I started contributing to this forum when I was 22, and that was only 8 years ago, so I'm hardly against you in your desire to get out on the road at the age of 18. I took a lot of small trips when I was 18, although I didn't quite do anything of the scale you are talking about until I was 19 and out of the house and on my own. The problem is that you are trying to get tips to convince your parents to do something that they believe is "crazy" and that's not an easy task.

    What I am reading from your posts is a lot of teenage arrogance, and I think your parents are picking up on it. You keep saying you "know" you can handle this trip (including your original post where you said you know you could safely drive 11 hours, but you'd consider other options to appease your parents.), and you are going to fight when someone tries to tell you differently. When you make statements like that, it certainly appears that you haven't really considered all of the risks and responsibilities, other than the bare minimum that you need to convince others that you should be able to do this. You might not think that's fair, but that's what's coming across to me, to Lifey, to Buck, and I suspect to your parents.

    Are your parents being overprotective, probably a little, but you're not exactly making a small request either. You're pretty much asking if you can jump off the high dive, without showing them that you know how to tread water - and you aren't willing to consider swimming in the shallow end for a little bit to prove your point.

    If you want to prove that you are responsible enough for this trip, then work with your parents on their concerns, and be open to scaling this trip back if that's what it takes for you to get their permission to be on the road. That's really the best advice I can give you here. There are times where being headstrong and stubborn doesn't help your case, and this is one of them.

    The only other good option I can think of, which isn't unreasonable at 18, is to actually move out on your own. If you're responsible enough to do that, then you'll certainly be proving to your parents that you are responsible enough to do a trip like this.

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