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  1. Default Could a car pull off a 24 hour drive?

    Would it be possible for a car to drive for one day straight? Say from DC to LA? This does not include the human factors of fatigue, just car factors. Also, what car class would hold up the best? From economy cars to an Audi R8 supercar. This is just pure theory I am NOT going to try this.

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

    Default easy

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    Any car in any reasonable running conditions would be able to do it easily, except for the factor that I don't know of any car that could hold that much fuel. As far as the engine and other parts go, they are built to run, and constantly running is a whole lot easier on them than stopping and starting. If you had a bottomless gas tank, the car could run for a couple of weeks, although at some point the oil and other fluids would start to break down.

    Of course, the much larger limiting factor is the fact that the operator isn't a machine and every single human does need to stop, because after about 12 hours behind the wheel, the physical response times of a human driver start dropping off dramatically and quickly become just as poor as those of someone who is drunk.

    Also note that even driving non-stop for 24 hours, you couldn't cover nearly enough ground to get from DC to LA. You'd still be looking at more than 40 hours of just on the road time. Again, in a fantasy world where a machine is driving, as doing the trip in anything less than 4 days for a human is extremely reckless.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default I've actually done it twice....

    I've done the drive*** both directions. I had a co-driver and we stopped only for fuel. Fuel stops also sufficed for food, restroom breaks and brief periods of exercise. I can tell you that neither driver was safe operating the vehicle after the first 24 hours had elapsed. If you must do something as stupid as that, minimum drivers need to be three, here are some more tips on a Speed Run.

    ***I don't remember our fastest elapsed time, but as Michael mentioned, about the fastest you can cover that distance, without a police escort, is ~ 40 hours.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California

    Default When I was young and stupid....

    ....I've been part of two non-stop drives. The car held up better than the people did, in both cases.

    First speed run, non-stop drive was with 4 people, about as many suitcases, from northeast Missouri to California. The group lost one driver, me, as they dropped me off in Flagstaff, AZ. The rule of the car's owner: if you were in the back, you should take the time to close your eyes and try to sleep. (I did, very easily.) If you were in the front, in the passenger seat, your job was to talk to the driver and keep up a running conversation. It worked. BTW, this was in 1975, and the car was from the 60's. We stopped for gas, food, and bathroom stops.

    Second speed run was just my hubby and I, in a brand new Subaru. We left Phoenix at 10 pm (to avoid the heat) and headed for Missouri with our cat. Our cat was a pretty good rider. We traded off driving, but after about 18 hours, we were both tired. Thankfully we pulled into our destination about 4 hours later. We stopped for gas, food and bathroom.

    I wouldn't try this again.


  5. #5

    Default And one more

    I was one of 4 drivers in a 15-passenger van with 5 additional passengers for a total of 9 souls on board. We did a straight-through trip out and back from Boone, NC to Dubois, WY out to a two-week backpacking trip in August 1976. Our transport was a state university van and drivers had to be pre-approved, preventing the other 5 from driving. This was back in the 55 mph speed limit days and we needed some 45 hours for the return trip. Excepting a 2-hour delay finding a replacement for a shredded tire, we stopped only for fuel and to-go food.

    The van held up far better than the drivers. We were zombies by the end of the trip.

    Strictly for fun, check out the various online sources of the story of the Cannonball Run--the original one which Brock Yates participated in and wrote about in Sports Illustrated (around 1969 or 1970?). Yates and race car driver Dan Gurney drove a Ferrari from NYC to Long Beach, CA. They bent, folded, and mutilated the speed limits every step of the way, and I believe it still took some 32-33 hours. They arrived as zombies, too. It's a fun story to read, but none of needs to try this at home............


  6. Default My Cannonball Run

    I wouldn't recommend it but it's totally doable. I drove from Weldon, NC to San Diego back in April. I always wanted to hop in the car and drive cross country dolo so I filled up the tank and started on my journey. It took about 40 hours mostly spent on I-40 only stopping for gas and coffee. Even though I was up for about 12 hrs before I left fatigue didn't really hit til I was over 30 hrs in. I took a little longer coming back (about 45 hrs) stopping by some Lost Room filming locations of off Route 66. I can't wait to do it again with the fam. I'll probably take a couple more days to do it then because I felt like I was missing some beautiful scenery driving at night. To fiiiiinally answer the question tho. If your car is in good running condition with no signs oftrouble.. go for it! As always, check your tires and fluids. I changed my oil before I left and soon as I got back. I was driving a 2014 Chevy Impala LT and I think I spent about 400 bucks on gas.
    Last edited by Budlee252; 12-19-2017 at 11:38 PM. Reason: No title

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default April Fools day ?

    Hi Budlee, welcome to RTA !

    You mention April 1st. Is this an April fool ? I am real pleased you (and everyone who shared the road with you) survived this wreckless drive across country. You were awake for 42 hours before you realised fatigue had set in. I say realised as it had actually set in long before then as no human could avoid it. Yet you continued on at speed (2600 miles in 40 hours !!)regardless of the potential consequences of your actions. Then you went and done it all again ! Please don't put your family through this, just take them for a nice, safe adventure and not a death defying challenge. Yes, fatigue is one of the biggest killers out there and despite the fact you got lucky doesn't make you different to the rest of the human race. FACT. I'm sorry if that's blunt, but other readers need to know this is not acceptable or safe to try. I wish you many years of happy family road trips.

  8. #8


    Audi R8 will likely run in to more road hazards related problems then your everyday economy car on that type of ultra long drives. Not that it's safe to drive like that..

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