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  1. Default trips & advice for driving NYC to Charlotte at night (memorial day)?

    I'm driving solo (with my dog) from NYC to Charlotte, NC. I will be driving an SUV with GPS system.

    The route I'm taking is: 78 West to 81 South to 77 South. (I'm really familiar with this route so I prefer it over taking 95.) I am trying to avoid the holiday traffic.

    I can't leave work until around 5pm on Friday, May 28th. I also need to allow time to pick up the rental car and pack up the car....

    My two options are:
    1) Leave directly after picking up the car & packing up all my stuff. Realistically, this would be around 9pm.
    2) Pickup car, pack up car, go to sleep for 4 hours. So leaving NYC around 2am.

    Do you think that it would be OK to drive after 4 hours asleep, assuming I get a good night sleep the night before?

    I'm leaning towards option #2... it might be a good time to "escape" NYC (avoid bridge/tunnel traffic) and by the time I get bored & tired, sun will be coming up, around 6am or so, plus I'll hopefully be out of Pennsylvania. And I'll be almost halfway there by the time any holiday traffic starts!

    Last edited by Midwest Michael; 05-19-2010 at 02:52 PM. Reason: Good Neighbor Rules

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default one by far

    I actually think your plan number 2 is very foolish. Its one of those "only on paper" plans that just doesn't work in the real world.

    The reality is, if you try this plan, you probably won't get to sleep as early as you hope, and because you have to wake up in the middle of the night, you're not going to get quality sleep/you'll likely be waking up very frequently knowing that your time for sleep is limited. Then of course, there is the fact that you'll be trying to wake up and drive at a time of day when your body will be expecting you to sleep - and you'll have no one with you to help keep you focused and alert.

    Plus, come 6am when you are ready for some real sleep, you aren't going to have any place to stay. Most motels don't allow check in until at least noon - and that's certainly going to be the case on a busy holiday weekend.

    I actually don't think your first plan is all that great either. If you really can't get on the road until 9, and this will come after a full day at work and presumably packing or whatever else you'll be doing over those 4 hours, you're simply not going to have much energy left to get out on the road. At least here, you can get a couple hours outside of NY, then get a full night sleep, and be ready to go for a full day of driving to get down to Charlotte.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Western/Central Massachusetts

    Default Sleep

    Taking a trip of any length after such a short period of sleep is not a wise idea. You most likely would not be able to get a good night's sleep at that rate since you're a) excited about your trip and b) worried about sleeping too long.

    Your comment on Pennsylvania is something that you should reconsider. There are many great roads in Pennsylvania if you just take the time to find them. In fact, if you do that, you might just be able to miss a good quantity of holiday traffic and have yourself a better time.

  4. #4


    This is frankly a bad idea. One of the mods will give you the exact quote because I see it multiple times on multiple posts regarding longevity on a road trip. Without getting the proper amount a sleep could make your reaction time as though you are drunk driving. It's very dangerous for you and the drivers on the road.

    My advice would be to get your car on Friday and to leave on Saturday at around 6am. Your body will be able to function on a good night's sleep while also waking up at a time that is more on track with a normal time to wake up.

  5. Default thanks...

    thanks! i think you are spot on in the fact that i will prob not get too much (quality) sleep the night before.

    what is the max anyone should drive in one day? i need to drop off the rental car at 2pm on Saturday.

    i'm driving a total of 625 miles, mapquest estimated 10.5 hours, but i've done this drive in 8.5 hours... i usually only stop twice for gas (and to walk my dog, stock up on water, use restroom) and i try to follow the pace of traffic.

    i'm pretty good w/long drives, having driven back & forth from virginia and long island during college - do you think there is any scenario in which i could do this drive and get there before 2pm?


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Let's see - 625 miles in 8.5 hours is an average of 73.5 mph - how many speeding tickets did you get? With 2 fuel stops, that must mean you were cruising in excess of 80 mph. With speed limits in that part of the country maxing out at 65 or 70, that's just wrong. Especially on a holiday weekend, you need to allow 12 hours for the drive. If the earliest you can get out of NYC is 9pm, that's giving you a 17 hour window which only allows you 5 hours of sleep - of which you will actually be asleep for 4 hours or less. The only SAFE way you are going to do this is extend your rental. You can either get on the road around 6am and do it in one shot, or drive a few hours Friday night and get a room somewhere and continue in the morning.

  7. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by glc View Post
    Let's see - 625 miles in 8.5 hours is an average of 73.5 mph - how many speeding tickets did you get? With 2 fuel stops, that must mean you were cruising in excess of 80 mph. With speed limits in that part of the country maxing out at 65 or 70, that's just wrong.
    That's pretty aggressive.

    I'll admit that when driving on trucking routes (81 specifically), the speed of traffic tends to set my pace, which often time exceeds the speed limit.....I don't necessarily stare at my speedometer, but I leave more than enough distance from the car in front of me, and stay in the right lane. It's not as though I'm flying in & out of lanes & passing people. I guess it may be "wrong" in terms of legality, or whatever you're definition of "right" is.

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


    Its wrong in terms of endangering others on the road. Legally, Morally, and simply by using even an ounce of Common Sense.

    Sorry, but your plans as you've laid them out are reckless. You're planning to drive at a reckless speed -driving at least 20-25 mph over the limit for your entire journey with spikes approaching 100 mphs at times because you've apparently done it before (the only way you can mathamatically average 73 mph over 600 miles of travel, with 2 stops is to have an average cruising speed of nearly 90 mph) - and you're going to do it overnight, without sleep, on a holiday weekend, in one of the busiest traffic corridors in the world.

    We can't stop you from doing them, we can only pray that you don't injure too many others, because your current plans have you playing russian roulette with countless lives.

    If you come to your senses, you've got 3 choices in a safe and responsible manner: Extend your rental by a day, Find a way to get out of work on Friday so you can leave earlier, or buy a Train/Plane ticket.

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