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  1. Default New Member Question: How many miles is "normal" to drive each day?

    Hi All:

    Just signed up. Planning on taking a road trip in June 2015. My son and I plan on taking about a 3000 mile trip. We'd like to do it in 3 weeks. But we'd also like to be able to make some stops and stay awhile. How many miles is "normal" to drive each day? I'm 65 and my son is 21 so we have different ideas on how much driving per day is ideal :). Any suggestions? Thank you.

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

    Default

    Welcome to RTA!

    If you are driving on Interstates just to get from point A to point B, 600 miles is as far as you would want to go in one day, in fact this is what professional drivers are limited to by law. With normal brief stops for food, fuel, and bathroom this will be about a 12 hour day. On non-Interstates and/or with sightseeing stops this of course will be less. If you have 3 weeks to do a 3000 mile trip I doubt that you will have a problem. However, it's very normal for people to THINK it's going to take less time to do something than it actually does, especially younger people.

    12 hours will also eat up all your daylight, why drive at night when you can't see anything?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default Miles per week.

    Each of my road trips has averaged out at around 1000 miles per week. This would average out at 150 miles per day. Of course not every day is a driving day. You may get to a place and stay two days, then do more than 400 to get to your next spot.

    One thing to be aware of, especially with the 21 year old, don't under any circumstances believe the driving times a computer mapping program or gps gives. They are pure fantasy, and do not have any relation to conditions in the real world.

    My reckoning is what used to be quoted on this forum when I first joined. West of the Mississippi count on 55 miles in each hour and on the east side it is 50 miles in each hour. Works well for me.

    Have a great trip.

    Lifey

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,747

    Default Huge difference in 'normal'.

    Every one is different, which is what makes each road trip unique and something that can be set at a pace you are comfortable with. I would put 3000 miles over 3 weeks in a 'comfortable for most' bracket with plenty of time to sight see and 'when' and 'where' to stop will be down to where you want to go while keeping the mileage at a safe and comfortable distance. Some days you may only do a few miles around the place you are visiting, a National park for example. We find 400 miles and a some smaller sight seeing opportunities remains enjoyable while being on the road for 11 or 12 hours, whereas 600 miles is possible in that time, it's more 'work like' with time for only basic stops for food and fuel and a stretch and clear the mind. So basically to answer your question, anything from 50 to 600 miles in one day could be considered "normal", depending on your plans for that particular day.

    Once you have a good idea of places you want to visit, post them up and we can make suggestions and recommendations. Enjoy the planning !!

  5. #5

    Default

    First off commercial drivers are not limited to 600 mile day. It all depends on what the truck is governed at and what the speed limits are the last year I drove I drove 173000 miles all legal I have never had a log book violation.

    Now back on topic I am a 41 yo m and my father is in his late seventies. I used to burn hard miles on road trips when I was younger. I am now retired and my dad and I have been taking trips around the states and the most I drive while I am with him on a trip is about 350 or 400 miles and we even have shorter days. It is finally nice to be able to see what I have been missing all those years I was working. I also like to hand calculate my drive time at a average of 50mph cause that helps include fuel,food,and rest room stops. The most important thing to remember is if you feel tired stop and take a walk drink some coffee and enjoy your trip.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default Good to see.

    Hi Otroo, and Welcome to the Great American Roadtrip Forum.

    Thanks for jumping in with your first post to share your experience and knowledge. I hope AuntCarol sees it, but she has not been back to this forum since the day she posted her query.

    New members are always welcome to jump in wherever they can contribute. Should you like any advice for a trip in the future, feel free to start your own thread.

    Lifey

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

    Default

    Thanks for jumping in, Otroo. Actually, the law was "10 hours" when my husband drove commercially, and since he was governed at 65, it meant they could drive somewhere around 600 miles in those 10 hours. Here at RTA, we use 600 miles as a "one day maximum" drive because it generally means being on the road 10-12 hours. That's about enough for the average person, though many should be on the road a lot less!

    Welcome to RTA! It sounds like you've got some miles under your belt, too.

    My husband enjoys our trips a lot more now that he is no longer driving commercially.


    Donna

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Otroo View Post
    First off commercial drivers are not limited to 600 mile day. It all depends on what the truck is governed at and what the speed limits are the last year I drove I drove 173000 miles all legal I have never had a log book violation.
    You are quite correct that the law isn't 600 miles - it's based on hours. Specifically, 10 or 11 hours on the road, before stopping for at least 10 hours of rest. Correct?

    As a practical matter, that works out to about 600 miles in a day, in good conditions. That's why you'll frequently see us refer to the 600 mile limit for professional drivers, as a simple way to relate it to the average person, without getting into the exact details. It also helps to avoid the common rookie mistake of people thinking that if they can drive 75 mph, then in 10 hours they must be able to go 750 miles - forgetting to factor in all the stops and slowdowns you'll experience during any travel day.

    But if your experience on the road is significantly different, we'd love to hear about it too!

  9. #9

    Default

    For me it depends on the vehicle. When I was driving trucks, my company capped us at 10 on/10 off. I could usually get about 600 miles in that time, mostly highway miles.

    On my motorcycle, I tend to do 300-400 a day, the RV is about the same. If I'm in a car I'll do 700-800 easily. I've driven from Los Angeles to Seattle in a car in two days.

    Of course it I'm stopping to see anything at all, expect these distances to be halved.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default Not recommended.

    Quote Originally Posted by ErichT View Post
    If I'm in a car I'll do 700-800 easily. I've driven from Los Angeles to Seattle in a car in two days.
    But would you recommend that for a 22 or even 26 year old, with less than a decade's driving experience and maybe on the first roadtrip. Seeing the above might have them thinking it is easy and attempt the same, with possibly fatal consequences. Most advice on these forums is given with road safety in mind, hence the limited miles most people can stay focused and alert - e.g. a truck driver's limitations. Fatigued driving is one of the greatest contributors to the number killed on the roads each year.

    And surely in the US, that is already way out of control.

    Lifey

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