Keeping you safe on the road with a sensible driving plan for your road trip
Road trips are a great way to travel, see the country, and spend time with friends and family. However, they can also be pretty tiring. If you’re planning a road trip, you might be wondering how many hours a day you should be driving.
From personal experience, I have been able to drive anywhere from 9 to 11 hours safely in one day on a road trip (pre-kids). Now, I am not making any recommendations here because how far you can travel in one day really depends on your ability and health and driving conditions.
Some people recommend only 8 hours of driving per day; with young children to consider, you may want to cap your daily driving even lower with plenty more breaks built in.
Truckers can drive up to 11 hours only after 10 hours of rest. So, that should give you some indication of what the government considers safe.
Let’s take a closer look at some factors that can help you to have a safe and enjoyable road trip.
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How Long Can You Comfortable Drive in a Day?
There really is no definitive answer to this question, as it depends on a variety of factors, including your fitness level, energy levels, and focus. However, if you’re well-rested and have plenty of energy, you can probably drive for longer periods of time without getting too tired.
If you’re starting to feel fatigued, it’s always best to take a break. Ultimately, it’s important to be aware of your own limitations and not push yourself too hard when driving long distances. Taking regular breaks will help keep you safe and ensure that you enjoy your road trip.
By driving during the day, I am able to drive much further and safely than driving at night. Also, being comfortable helps…a lot. Invest in a good seat cushion for your car. You won’t regret it.
Personally, I have driven up to fourteen hours in one day. Again, I would not recommend that for most people. But on that particular day, I was feeling good and felt I could do that safely.
Mind you, I left early in the morning and drove throughout the day. To me, driving during the day helps immensely because there are things to look at and keep me awake.
Other times, with boring straight freeway driving, I have needed to stop after six or seven hours of driving. You really need to be aware of how you are feeling and what you are capable of. Monotonous freeway driving can be even more tiring than driving through towns and windy roads.
If you’re feeling sleepy or fatigued, it’s best to stop and take a nap or just get out and walk around for a while. This will help refresh your body and mind, and you’ll be able to continue your trip with renewed energy.
Driving can be tiring, but by taking regular breaks, you can ensure that you have a safe and enjoyable road trip.
How Long Should You Drive Before Taking a Break?
It’s generally recommended that you take a break every two to three hours when driving long distances.
This gives you a chance to rest your eyes and legs, and it also gives you an opportunity to stretch your back.
If possible, it’s also a good idea to switch drivers every few hours. This way, everyone in the car will stay fresh and alert.
Taking breaks is key to taking a road trip safely. They also give you an opportunity to do a little bit of sightseeing. What are some ways to take a break? Check out the shortlist below.
- Take a break from driving and let someone else take over for a bit. This will help you stay fresh, and it will also give you a chance to relax and stretch your legs.
- Get out of the car and take a walk. A short walk can help you refresh your eyes and legs, and it can also help improve your circulation.
- Stop at a rest stop or park and get some fresh air. This can help clear your head and revive you.
- Eat something light and healthy. Eating nutritious food can help keep your energy up and your mind clear, keep plenty of healthy snacks, not sugary and salt-ladened, to keep your body refreshed.
- Take a nap. If you feel tired, don’t be afraid to take a quick nap to recharge your batteries. A nap is only as good as the pillow you have to sleep on. This can be a little tricky in the car, I recommend a good neck pillow for any road trip.
What’s the best place to stop for a break on a road trip?
Before we leave for a road trip, we map out different rest areas along our way. This helps us to set a goal and to know how far we can get in a single day.
We know that we’re more alert in the morning so will get the majority of the driving for the day done before a lunch stop. We take our time during this break and move around a lot, before completing the last leg of our journey mid-afternoon.
Also, with Google Maps, you can Street View many of the rest areas or truck stops along your way. This lets you inspect the area to see if they have bathroom facilities, picnic tables, sufficient walking area, etc. We also love using Road Trippers App for this.
Now that you have decided to go on a road trip. How far can you make it in a single day?
Is 12 Hours Driving Too Much?
Now that we’ve looked at some of the factors that can influence how long you should drive in a day, let’s answer the question: Is 12 hours of driving too much? In general, 12 hours is about the maximum amount of time that most people can drive in a day.
If you’re planning to drive for longer periods of time than that, it’s best to break up the journey into multiple days. That way, you won’t get too tired, and you’ll be able to enjoy your trip more.
There are a few dangers associated with driving more than 12 hours. Firstly, you may start to feel tired, and it may become harder to focus on the road. This can lead to dangerous driving behaviors, such as taking your eyes off the road or braking too late.
Secondly, if you’re driving for more than 12 hours, you’re at a higher risk of experiencing a car accident. This is because when you’re tired, your reflexes are slower, and you’re less likely to see hazards on the road.
So, if you can avoid driving for more than 12 hours in a day, it’s definitely advisable to do so. If you have no choice but to drive for longer than that, be sure to take regular breaks and drink plenty of water.
What about mileage? How far can you reasonably be expected to drive in a single day?
Can You Drive 1000 Miles in a Day?
For a single driver, it is definitely not recommended to drive 1000 miles in a day. Driving for that many hours can be extremely tiring and dangerous. It’s best to break up the journey into multiple days if you want to travel that far.
On my longest day of driving, 14 hours, I made it only 700 miles, and I was spent after that journey. A more realistic expectation would probably be somewhere between 500 and 650 miles in a single day.
Road trips are a great way to see different parts of the country (or world). However, they can also be pretty tiring if you’re not careful. When planning your trip, make sure to take into account how many hours a day you should be driving. And remember, if you start to feel tired, it’s always best to take a break!
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