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  1. Default Is driving this far realistic?

    I have some vacation time coming up (about 12 days) and am looking to visit Las Vegas, Nevada. I live in New York (southern) and was planning to drive there given the low cost of gas and the necessity of having a car to get around Las Vegas while I am there. I have never driven that far away from home before so I am a bit uncertain if this is a realistic trip to take. I mapped the directions on google and it says that the entire drive (along i80, i70, i15) takes 37 hours each way (not including stops of course). Is it possible then to complete the trip over two long days in either direction? I haven't given it much thought, but I was thinking of maybe stopping in either Des Moines or Omaha (seems to be about half way). I have independently driven to Florida from New York over one long day in the past, and have completed a drive from Mississippi to New York in less than two. Has anyone attempted this trip before and if so how did it go? What sort or preparations would you recommend? I would also most likely be traveling solo so would this make any kind of a difference? Any input would be greatly appreciated.

    -Kisangani
    Last edited by kisangani; 06-20-2016 at 03:59 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
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    9,358

    Default Absolutely Not

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    Southern New York State to Las Vegas is a minimum of four and a half days each way to be done safely. Your previous experiences with single days of fairly reckless driving do not mean that you can do such things day after day after day and still be alert enough to guide a two-ton auto at highway speeds, or enjoy Las Vegas once you get there. For comparison I would simply note that Omaha to Las Vegas is over 1200 miles. That's twice as far as professional long-haul drivers are legally allowed to drive due to safety concerns.

    AZBuck

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
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    13,064

    Default No, Not even close

    Adding to what Buck already said, there are a few serious flaws with your line of thinking.

    First, googlemap times are pure fantasy when it comes to distances like this. They assume you can drive non-stop at or above the speed limit, all day long, never having to slowdown for traffic or construction, much less get fuel or use a restroom. Real world, you're looking at least 44 hours on the road.

    More importantly, distances like these need to be measured in days, not hours. Professional drivers are limited to driving roughly 600 miles a day, because of safety laws - as after about 10 hours in a car, the human body simply can't keep focus well enough to safely operate a 2 ton machine at 70 mph. Fatigue is also cumulative, which makes following those guidelines even more important when you're talking about a multi-day trip.

    Finally, if cost is your thinking behind doing this trip by car, then you're also misguided in thinking this will be a money saver. Fuel alone is going to cost you $500-600 - not including wear on your car, or food and lodging costs. It shouldn't be too hard to find flights from NYC to LAS for around $300. Vegas isn't really a city where you need a car, but you should be able to find one for $20-30 a day if you want to take a few trips out of the city.

  4. Default

    Other option if you don't want to fly in to Vegas... Can you fly in to Devner CO, Salt Lake City, UT or Dallas, TX and drive from there? It will be more enjoyable trip that way...

  5. Default

    If I were to find another person to go with me, would the drive then be possible in two days? I only ask because since I have a limited time (12 days) and want to spend a full week in Vegas, I do not want to be on the road any more than 5 days. I also wouldn't plan to stop at any sites (national parks, tourist attractions, ect). Would it be feasible to make the trip in 3 days solo? 4.5 just seems like too much for me given my time constraints. Also why is it reckless to drive over 1000 miles in one day? Even if one stops for food (quickly) and gas at regular intervals, that distance can be completed in 16 hours. That is about how long the average person is awake per day.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,064

    Default

    No. Simply being in a car for hour upon hours at a time is fatiguing. Adding a 2nd driver does not significantly change how far you can safely.

    Being "awake" and concentrating on operating a 2 ton machine at 70 mph are two vastly different things - that's why it is not safe to drive 1,000 miles in a day. That's why professional drivers are prohibit by law from attempting to do anything close to that.

    There is no way to get around the fact that you need a minimum of 4 overnight stops to make this trip safely. There are no "but," "what if," "how about," statements that will change that, and you won't find anyone here who will encourage you to do anything else. Attempting this drive in 3 days, under any circumstance will mean fatigue will cause your driving skills to be similar to those of a drunk driver for much of the trip.

    If you've got 12 days available and you want to spend at least 7 days in Vegas, DRIVING IS NOT AN OPTION.

  7. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Midwest Michael View Post
    No. Simply being in a car for hour upon hours at a time is fatiguing. Adding a 2nd driver does not significantly change how far you can safely.

    Being "awake" and concentrating on operating a 2 ton machine at 70 mph are two vastly different things - that's why it is not safe to drive 1,000 miles in a day. That's why professional drivers are prohibit by law from attempting to do anything close to that.

    There is no way to get around the fact that you need a minimum of 4 overnight stops to make this trip safely. There are no "but," "what if," "how about," statements that will change that, and you won't find anyone here who will encourage you to do anything else. Attempting this drive in 3 days, under any circumstance will mean fatigue will cause your driving skills to be similar to those of a drunk driver for much of the trip.

    If you've got 12 days available and you want to spend at least 7 days in Vegas, DRIVING IS NOT AN OPTION.
    Thanks for your advice. I will consider either finding a way to get a few extra days off from work, or just flying there instead if I can't. A majority of the trip would be spent traveling if I took 4 overnight stops to get there each way.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2003
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    Green County, Wisconsin
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    13,064

    Default

    I understand that traveling would end up taking up a huge portion of your trip if you decided to drive, but that's just the reality, if you are going to do this trip safely. You came here asking if your plan was realistic, and the answer is that not only was it not realistic, it's not even close.

    As I also previously mentioned, Flying should not really be any more expensive, and in a lot of ways, could easily be a less expensive option. Considering your goals and limitations, flying seems like the no-brainer option for this particular trip.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
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    Tucson, AZ
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    Default Absolutely Not - Part II

    There are more than a couple of fallacies and misconceptions in youth beliefs about what is physically possible in a day of driving. First of all, having two drivers does not mean you can drive farther or faster in a day, just the opposite. Both 'drivers' need to be awake at all times, one to keep an eye on the other and prevent him from starting to nod off, and you simply can't get any meaningful sleep in a car. Then there's the fact that you will have to stop more often, whenever either of you needs a bathroom break for example, and each stop will take longer - driven by the slower of the two of you.

    Secondly, it is simply impossible to drive 1000 miles in 16 hours. To do that, you'd have to average nearly 65 mph. This gets back to what Michael mentioned about the fantasy world of on-line mapping which assumes that you can drive at or above the speed limit for every second of every minute of every hour that you're 'driving'. That's simply not going to happen. It assumes that you will never see any traffic, of construction, or even get behind two semis passing each other. And that you'll never need to stop for food, or fuel, or to go to the bathroom. Such things add up quickly and will lower your average speed, even on Interstates, to about 55 mph. And while 16 hours is roughly the amount of time you are awake during a given day, that is not the same as being alert and functional. I assume that you will want to shower at some point and that it will take you a while to get up, packed and on the road in the morning, and similarly that you aren't going to turn off the highway and instantly be in a bed and falling asleep. At best, you can devote maybe 14 hours (at 55 mph average) to driving on a given day. That's only 750 miles. And even at that you'd be in no shape to do it again the next day, or the next.

    Finally, if you don't see why it's reckless to try to drive 1000 miles in a day, you've clearly never tried to do it. Driving a car is not the same thing as simply sitting and doing nothing for a day. It requires your undivided attention for hour after hour and is enervating to say the least. Again, if you were a professional, licensed, long-haul driver this would be illegal, precisely because study after study and real-world experience after real-world experience has shown that after about 10 hours or so a driver's reaction times and concentration are every bit as bad as those of a drunk driver and lead to just as many traffic accidents and fatalities.

    Look, we get any number of relatively inexperienced drivers here every month making the same claims - that they can somehow do what others cannot. Our advice to you will not change: You cannot do it. You would be endangering the lives of everyone else who's being forced (without their knowledge) to share the road with you. We will not give you any encouragement. If you don't have the time for such a drive, then fly. Your lack of time is no reason to put others' lives at risk.

    AZBuck

  10. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by AZBuck View Post
    There are more than a couple of fallacies and misconceptions in youth beliefs about what is physically possible in a day of driving. First of all, having two drivers does not mean you can drive farther or faster in a day, just the opposite. Both 'drivers' need to be awake at all times, one to keep an eye on the other and prevent him from starting to nod off, and you simply can't get any meaningful sleep in a car. Then there's the fact that you will have to stop more often, whenever either of you needs a bathroom break for example, and each stop will take longer - driven by the slower of the two of you.

    Secondly, it is simply impossible to drive 1000 miles in 16 hours. To do that, you'd have to average nearly 65 mph. This gets back to what Michael mentioned about the fantasy world of on-line mapping which assumes that you can drive at or above the speed limit for every second of every minute of every hour that you're 'driving'. That's simply not going to happen. It assumes that you will never see any traffic, of construction, or even get behind two semis passing each other. And that you'll never need to stop for food, or fuel, or to go to the bathroom. Such things add up quickly and will lower your average speed, even on Interstates, to about 55 mph. And while 16 hours is roughly the amount of time you are awake during a given day, that is not the same as being alert and functional. I assume that you will want to shower at some point and that it will take you a while to get up, packed and on the road in the morning, and similarly that you aren't going to turn off the highway and instantly be in a bed and falling asleep. At best, you can devote maybe 14 hours (at 55 mph average) to driving on a given day. That's only 750 miles. And even at that you'd be in no shape to do it again the next day, or the next.

    Finally, if you don't see why it's reckless to try to drive 1000 miles in a day, you've clearly never tried to do it. Driving a car is not the same thing as simply sitting and doing nothing for a day. It requires your undivided attention for hour after hour and is enervating to say the least. Again, if you were a professional, licensed, long-haul driver this would be illegal, precisely because study after study and real-world experience after real-world experience has shown that after about 10 hours or so a driver's reaction times and concentration are every bit as bad as those of a drunk driver and lead to just as many traffic accidents and fatalities.

    Look, we get any number of relatively inexperienced drivers here every month making the same claims - that they can somehow do what others cannot. Our advice to you will not change: You cannot do it. You would be endangering the lives of everyone else who's being forced (without their knowledge) to share the road with you. We will not give you any encouragement. If you don't have the time for such a drive, then fly. Your lack of time is no reason to put others' lives at risk.

    AZBuck
    I only quoted 16 hours because that is how long it took me to drive to Florida (from NY) earlier this year (January). I left really early (2am) and got to my hotel at 5 in the afternoon (1150 miles according to my odometer). Granted I only stopped 3 times for gas and felt fatigued afterwards but I wouldn't say I was impaired at all during the drive........but anyway I appreciate your input. It seems you have had far more experience with this sort of thing than I have.
    Last edited by kisangani; 06-20-2016 at 12:20 PM.

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