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  1. Default Maxima through Applachian / New England

    Hello, I'm a college student planning a long drive to go and see an old friend who now currently resides near Wilmington, DE. I still live in Nashville TN, so the drive to see him is a little long. The only break we both have is winter break, and I was looking for any advice or thoughts on driving a 2008 Nissan Maxima through the mountains / cities. It's not so much a luxury trip, haha, as I'd prefer to get there within a day's drive. I've had family members tell me that the mountains will be rough to drive through, and as I planned on taking this trip through I-81 mostly in the middle of December, I was wondering how difficult it would be for my car. Any advice for planning the trip would be greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    Welcome to RTA!

    You should have no problem on Interstate highways in a Maxima as long as you have a decent set of all-season tires on it. However, Nashville to Wilmington is almost 800 miles and CANNOT safely be driven in one day. If you leave in the morning, you should plan to stop for the night around Staunton, VA. If you leave around noon, you should plan on stopping for the night around Bristol, TN/VA.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    I have to agree with GLC, the distance is a much bigger safety concern than the route or the weather at this point. In the real world, not a computer map generated one, this is a trip that will take about 15 hours in good conditions - it will take longer if you do see some winter weather and/or run into significant traffic delays around Washington/Baltimore. That's more than professional drivers are allowed to do by law, because of safety concerns.

    The mountains themselves aren't a problem at all. Literally thousands of people drive these roads every day, and you're in a relatively new car that should have no issues at all - assuming it's been properly maintained and cared for. Weather could be a concern, as the chance of snow or ice is certainly there, but even that can easily be overcome if you are following the basics of smart winter travel - including possibly delaying your trip by a day or two if you do find there is a major storm in the forecast for your travel days.

  4. Default

    Do you think it would travelable in one day with two people? My friend is going aswell and we were thinking of just switching off driving hours. It seems like if we left at sunrise we'd hit D.C. around dusk or so, and unless the traffic is extreme it doesn't seem too bad to go through city interstates at night, but I might just be naiive on this.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    No, you need 3 drivers in a "speed run" rotation to safely drive 800 miles in a day. A hotel room isn't that expensive out on the rural Interstates.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default The Fallacy of Two Drivers

    We often see this argument presented that having two drivers means that it allows one to driver farther or faster either in a given amount of time or for a longer period of time. It's simply not true. First off, you have to realize that the more people in the car, whether they're drivers or not, the slower you go. Bathroom stops will be more frequent and take longer. Acceleration and hill climbing will be slower with the extra weight and burn more gas, resulting in even more stops. So you just can't cover miles as quickly.

    Then there's the fatigue factor. It is impossible to get quality sleep while sitting upright in a moving car. And neither of you will probably want to sleep anyway since this will be your normal waking hours let alone dealing with the adventure of being on the road together. In any event, both of you should be awake at all times to keep an eye on the driver in case (s)he starts to doze off. So in essence and probably in reality, you both will be awake for the entire drive. And it's not the driving per se that presents a problem, it's the fatigue, and you both will be just as fatigued at the end of 500 (let alone 600) miles as you would be if you had done all the driving.

    Trying to cover 800 miles in a day is just a very bad idea. And this is particularly the case when the last 200 miles or so - when you will be most fatigued, least capable of good decision making, and with your motor skills at a low point - are on one of the most congested, high speed roads in America, I-95 from south of Washington to Wilmington. That's just a recipe for disaster.

    AZBuck
    Last edited by AZBuck; 10-17-2014 at 10:09 AM.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,545

    Default

    Another experience here -- this past summer, we felt we "had" to do 650 miles in one day, between Phoenix AZ and Fort Stockton, TX. There were two of us and we figured we could switch off driving. We left at 3 am from Phoenix, due to heat and the fact that there would be two hours lost with time zones. When we pulled into Fort Stockton at 4:30 in the afternoon, we were both exhausted. There was NO WAY that we'd have been able to go another 150 miles. I realize that age may be against us, but we did 720 miles once in one day, when we were younger, and were exhausted back then too.

    In short: not 800 miles in one day. You're like a drunk driver after 600 miles in the car, even if you were the passenger for 300 miles.


    Donna

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    one of the most congested, high speed roads in America, I-95 from south of Washington to Wilmington
    The most efficient route is I-81 to I-66 to the Beltway - this doesn't take you south of DC. If there's a chance you would be hitting DC in peak traffic and/or hitting the tunnel in Baltimore when it's jammed up, it's 20 miles longer staying on I-81 to I-70, take that to Baltimore and take the I-695 beltway around to I-95.

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