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Thread: Speed per day

  1. #1
    imported_Kevin Guest

    Default Average speed, miles per day, etc

    This is basically a general question about travel times. My question is this: How many miles can one expect to travel in a day? My trip comes out to approximately 5100 miles. Large chunks of it, but not all, are on highways. My Microsoft Streets and Trips planner tells me I can make it in nine days. Is this a realistic estimate?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula

    Default 567 mi/day

    I use MS Streets & Trips, too. This is averaging 567 miles a day. That's a lot! Some things I would check out before deciding on whether this is doable are:

    1. What info did you put into the profile...especially where you tell it what speed you'll be traveling on interstates, etc.? Set this at a reasonable average speed. You may be able to kick it into high-gear at times but you also need to allow for time when traffic is thicker and slower so I would figure no more than 60mph on Interstates, for example.

    2. What did you use for travel hours, i.e. time in the morning to start and time at night to end? Only you can answer that but remember that the first couple of days, driving 10 hours may not seem too bad. But it gets old and tiring quickly and you may not be able to keep it up safely.

    3. There is a box you can check for rest stops. I usually allow for about 30 minutes every 2 hours. You may not need this but it does build in some rest stops along your trip which can be used for gas stops, potty breaks, stretching your leg breaks, stopping at scenic viewpoint breaks, lunch breaks, etc. You may not think you need this but, after that many days, I think you will. For example, there have been timse when road-tripping where I've had to pull into rest stops and take a quick nap. Not so much because I needed sleep but because I've needed to rest my eyes because my eyes are so dang tired and just tired of focusing on the road. Or I've realized that I'm driving on auto-pilot and not really paying good attention to what's going on around me. You need to allow for these situations. For example, driving into the setting sun can sometimes be so bad that it's almost better to stop for awhile and let the sun set more before continuing for safety.

    4. After you have all the above parameters set in a way that makes sense to you, then check out where S&T says you will be stopping for the night. You may find that it sometimes have you stopping so far out in the toolies that no hotels/campgrounds are anywhere nearby. Some parts of the west are quite empty and you can easily drive another hour or so before finding a town with a place to stop for the night. You need to factor this in when deciding how far to go that day. More than once, I've had to play with routes because it has me at 9pm an hour in every direction from any town and I know I don't want to drive until 10pm, for example.

    These are just some of my thoughts on the matter. You really need to tweak things to find what seems right and doable for you.

  3. #3

    Default Average speed

    A good rule of thumb is about 52 mph, average. So multiply that by your driving hours for any given day and that's about what you can do. This allows for normal gas and food stops and road-breaks -- stopping to change CD's, etc.

    In my experience (OTR truck driver for several years, and an inveterate road-tripper), I can tell you that driving FASTER does not change the average very much. It always seems to work out to the low 50s when averaged over long distances.

    With Microsoft Streets and Trips, you can add stopping time to your way points, and also, set the "options" for your own chosen driving speeds and hours of driving. If you've done that, then the program is fairly accurate times-wise, although, your results may vary!

  4. #4

    Default Looks like

    me and Judy were writing responses at the same time, so you can ignore my last paragraph, she said it better! :)

  5. #5
    imported_Robert Guest

    Default hypnosis

    The above subject line is appropos. After several hours on the road, you can find your mind drifting and not paying attention. This, of course, is a major cause of accidents. It's sometimes called "highway hypnosis."
    I agree with Bob, that stopping every 2 hours is good.

    To make 572 miles a day, you'd have to be driving more than 10 hours/ day. Not a good thing. Is there a necessity to travel 5100 miles in 9 days? If not, slow down a bit and enjoy the drive.

    Have a safe trip.


  6. #6
    imported_Kevin Guest


    I programmed in driving from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. every day, with an average highway speed of 75--because that is indeed what I average on the interstate--and 65 on other highways, such as Hwy 50, which will be the first leg of my trip.

    I added in a one-hour break, which should include a 30-minute stop for lunch every day, and a couple of gas stops/restroom breaks.

    I guess I'm posting this in response to the comments I've seen elsewhere in the forum that one can't expect to average much more than 50 mph. I never drive anywhere near that, and it puzzles me. When I went on my trip to the Rocky mountains in 2002, I covered 3800 miles in seven days.

  7. #7

    Default You're not unusual

    We use the 52 mph as an overall planning number. You wouldn't plan for 52 and then ADD in all the rest stops -- the 52 includes them -- so it's just a rough overall planning aid for guestimating.

    I figure my speeds for the MS Streets and Trips the same as you -- and add the stops as well. All we're saying is that 75 is NOT your average -- it's your TARGET speed.

    One of the reasons most folks don't gain much by speeding is that it is fatiguing -- the faster you drive, the more rests you tend to take. If you're real young, or a zealous driver, maybe this doesn't apply to you (yet), but for many of us, this accounts for the FACT that no matter how fast you drive, to a reasonable point, you never AVERAGE much more than 52 over a long distance (when you figure total miles/total time). Make sense? Bob

  8. #8

    Default I'm with Bob...

    First road trip, I grabbed the atlas and used the mileage between cites chart. "420 miles until Knoxville? No problem! I'll drive 70 and be there 6 hours." Never happens.

    They reserved "F"s for the gifted children and instead they just asked that I never return to Math class and erased my name from the grade book, however, a quick look at your posts and it sounds like quite an endeavor.

    10.5 hours of driving a day, every day, for nine days seems a little excessive. Can you do it? Sure. I've seen the Cannonball Run a dozen times, anything is possible.

    Where are you visiting that requires such a break-neck pace?

  9. #9
    imported_Kevin Guest


    My itinerary is below, in the Summer Road Trips section under "Sacramento to Michigan and back".

    The thing is, I will have about 14 days off in July, and I want to have time to see the things I want to see. I was hoping to spend one full day in Yellowstone, and I'm also hoping to see the Truman library in Independence and Lincoln's home in Springfield, IL. So, if I can cover the actual miles of the trip in nine days, that would, essentially, give me five days to stop and look around.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula

    Default Average 75mph

    Well, I like to average 75mph but it usually doesn't happen. In fact, there are quite a few Interstates where the speed limit is 60 so you need to keep that in mind. Also a lot of the highways in the West meander through towns requiring you to drop your speed to 40, 30, and even 25, numerous times during the day. I've never driven around back East so I don't know if this is common there or not. Add to that the fact that I've never gotten through many of the states with harsh winters without being slowed by construction delays.

    I guess what I see that jumps out at me the most in your plans is that you lack planning for time for stopping at beautiful scenic vistas, heritage markers, interesting shops or architectural items, statues or museums that intrigue you, etc.

    My first time through the Southwest, I didn't anticipate stopping so often at the funky tourist attractions they have along I-40 which contains parts of old Route 66. Heck, I hadn't even heard of Meteor Crater but, because I planned for these type of stops in my route creation, I had an hour or so to stop and explore it without feeling like I was getting behind. I had time to stop at some of the unique, tacky but fun trading posts along the way, and I had time to stop at some compelling desert landscape areas that drew my attention. I even had time to take a few bigger detours because time for these were planned in. is is the type of thing I see missing from your itinerary.

    But I'm not the one doing the traveling and driving on your trip, you you should plan it how you like. I hope you have a great time and that it works out for you.

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