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  1. Default LA to Atlantic City

    hey i moved out to cali about 4 months ago with a friend of mine. We need to get back to NJ asap for family reasons. What route do you guys think would be quickest with the least amount of stops(checkpoints/tolls/railroads ect). We are considering driving straight through taking turns driving and sleeping. We have done plenty of long distance driving so we think it wont be a problem. On the way back we plan to do a bit more site seeing so a new route that has some good views is the plan for way back. So my questions would be....

    Which car rental place will allow us to go across country with their vehicle?(i use the word "allow" lightly)
    Which route is quickest?
    Do you think driving straight through is safe?
    What route do you recommend for the ride back. 5-8 days

    Glad i found this site cause we plan on doing alot of road trips over the next year

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Absolutely not !

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    We are considering driving straight through taking turns driving and sleeping.
    Please, please do not attempt to drive across country "straight". It would be not only dangerous to you but also to the folks sharing the road with you !! You can not get proper rest in a moving car and when one is sleeping there is no one to keep an eye on the driver.

    If you have urgent family business that you are rushing to attend to that will only heighten the risks. If it's that urgent book a flight ! If it's really urgent and you rotor drivers, take appropriate breaks and get a good nights sleep you could possibly do it in 4 days of driving which is a day less than the minimum we would usually recommend. The quickest according to my mapping program are along I15/40/44/70/76. You would still need to allow a day or 2 'wiggle' room for any delays/winter weather events that might happen.

    Any major rental company will let you drop the car on the other side of the country, for a fee ! If you have to rent a car, stay in Motels and consider the cost of fuel and the urgency of the matter I will repeat, please fly ! You cna then have a relaxing road trip coming back.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default not things to joke around with

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    Not only is trying to drive across country "straight through" not safe, it is about one of the most reckless and dangerous things you can do behind the wheel. Sleep is not optional when it comes to a safe roadtrip, and one person sleeping in the passenger seat while the other is driving does not count as real rest. Its not close to the quality sleep you need to safely operate a 2 ton machine at 70 mph, and having an exhausted driver trying to stay awake while looking at someone else napping only increases your danger factor. Drowsy driving kills, and by trying to drive straight through, you'd be putting in danger every other person who happens to be sharing the road.

    This is a trip that is 2800 miles and even doing it in 4 full days is pushing it to the extreme limits of safety. If you need to get there faster, you must fly.

    I-40/44/70 appears to be the shortest route, however, there are about 4 options all of which are within about 100 miles of each other. Since that is such a tiny distance in comparison to your overall trip, Any of them could be fastest on any given day depending upon traffic, construction, weather etc.

    Nearly every major rental company will allow cross country rentals, however you may have to pay for it. Don't even think that "allow" is something to joke around with. Every rental car has a GPS tracking device, and they will know if you are violating the terms of your rental contract. In the best case, you'd be facing a major extra charge of thousands of dollars when you return the vehicle, in the worst case, you get into an accident and since you are in violation of the contract, you are essentially driving a stolen car and as such things like your insurance could be ruled invalid.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    I'll add "ditto" to the remarks about driving across country non-stop. When we did that a couple of times years back, we learned that it's pretty stupid. When you get there, you're so danged tired you can't do anything for a day or so anyway. Take your time and arrive a little more rested.

    You could take any number of routes out there. One, going I-15/40/44/70, is the fastest at this time of the year. Some may tell you to take I-15 up to I-70 and take that straight across. However, there is a major portion of I-70 through Utah and Colorado where you are above 5000 ft elevation, and close to 11,000 ft in places. That increases your chances of delays due to weather.

    A thought for a return route -- I-80 to I-81 South to I-40 to I-15. With I-40, you are going close to Great Smoky Mountains National Park in TN and Grand Canyon NP in AZ, among other places. This is a lovely route, too, especially east of Oklahoma City.


  5. Default

    thanks for the quick replies. We will take an extra 2 days and stay at 2 hotels instead of driving straight through. We are calling rental car companies today to see which allows us to go coast to coast. ll keep you all updated. Thanks again

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    Thank you for taking our advice.

    If you check out the car booking options from RTA, (big box at the top of the right hand column of this page) you'll find that most of them offer unlimited mileage.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    That's still too far for 3 days - that's 1000 miles a day. You need a minimum of 3 nights on the road.

    What I'd look at would be one way flights to PHL, then rent a car there for a one-way return to LAX. I'm seeing a Web fare on Southwest leaving as early as TOMORROW for $209. You would have a hard time getting from LAX to PHL for $400 in gas, much less hotel bills.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default Five days is the minimum

    I've made the speed-run-never-stop drive coast-to-coast three times over the last couple of decades. I can tell you that with two drivers, stopping only for fuel, it still takes most of three days to drive cross country. And even with disciplined drivers, who actually sleep on their "off" shifts, sleep deprivation starts to wreak havoc with driving skill by the middle of the second day. Even if you were to allow five days to drive this distance -- you'd need to be in the car driving at or above the speed limit for about 11 hours per day.

    If you really must drive this quickly -- and winter weather has really hit the country now -- you'll be really hard-pressed to reach Atlantic City faster than four days of HARD driving. And if you must... please read these Speed Run tips and apply as much of them as you can.


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