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Huck 11-09-2015 07:02 AM

Estimating Drive Time
Anyone have any rule of thumb they use for estimating drive time?

For example, when I use Bing or Google Maps, they supply mileage and estimated drive times. Since I am more comfortable driving 55 mph on Interstates, I'm guessing my drive time would be 20-25% longer than their estimates. Do you find this to be close?

And when I choose avoid Interstates, I guess this could be anywhere from 10 to 25% longer.

Of course fuel stops, etc times would also need to be added in. I'm trying to plan a 1000 mile (each way) trip and decide if this is a 3 or 4 day drive. What I'd like to do is a longer 1st day maybe using Interstate and then going off Interstate and driving fewer hours per day for the rest of the trip.

The one trip I take on a regular basis takes me about 25% longer than estimates. Part of that is because for a good portion, the speed limit is 65 or 70 and I usually keep it to 55 - 60.

I-85 is the direction I want to take, but Atlanta is a place I'd like to avoid. Anyone driven I-85 lately? Any places to avoid?

mary and bob 11-09-2015 07:20 AM

Probably that 25% longer is a good rule. We use a GPS but sometimes have to put in closer destinations one at a time if we want a route different than the most direct. We do the same when figuring times online. Haven't been near Atlanta in several years, traffic was crazy when we were there.

reeves99 11-09-2015 07:46 AM

I double Google time--and most days that's pretty accurate. I like to take breaks at rest stops and take a lunch break along the way. I find that to be a non-tiring pace.

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Mary F 11-09-2015 08:21 AM

I use 50 miles per hour as a conservative estimate. That will factor in the rest stops, slow downs in small towns, etc. We actually usually make slightly better time than that, but if it's 500 miles, I figure approximately 10 hours; then when we get there in "only" 9 hours, I think we're ahead of schedule. :wink

Byron Kinnaman 11-09-2015 09:00 AM

This is another one of those things not to worry about. I drive until I'm tired then stop in a rest area and sleep for few hours. I don't worry about whether this is a 3 day drive or a 4 day drive or a 2 hour drive. For those mulitiday drives I usually drive until about 10 pm. Again planning creates a lot of unnecessary worry and trying to keep a schedule. YUCK.

emij 11-09-2015 09:02 AM


Originally Posted by Mary F (Post 557729)
I use 50 miles per hour as a conservative estimate. That will factor in the rest stops, slow downs in small towns, etc. We actually usually make slightly better time than that, but if it's 500 miles, I figure approximately 10 hours; then when we get there in "only" 9 hours, I think we're ahead of schedule. :wink

I do the exact same thing and for the same reasons....figure everything at 50 mph then do a happy dance if we arrive 'early!'

Bob Miller 11-09-2015 09:10 AM

Look at the speed limit in the states you will be crossing.

With many states, such as California, having 55MPH towing speed limits, the 50 MPH figure might not work.

My stopping time is usually at sunset. Driving into the middle of the night no longer has any attraction when on a "Vacation". But I did do so recently in a 1200 mile dash to WA, but that was just an A to B transit.

Bster13 11-09-2015 09:17 AM

I recently had a thought about elevation change while route planning as well. There are bicycle route websites out there that show an elevation profile when calculating routes and that could be useful when trying to decide if you can maintain a ~real~ 50 MPH or not up and over the hills.

wandererlee 11-09-2015 09:41 AM

We travel from VA to the panhandle of FL about once a month to our vacation home. We travel I81 S to I77 S to I40 W at Statesville to RT 321 S at Hickory in order to avoid Charlotte(IMO worse than Atlanta)back to I85 S to Atlanta. I have found no really easy way to avoid the traffic around Atlanta. We skirt downtown on I285 and then continue on I85 S to I185 to Columbus GA then on down to Fl on 431 and 231 through Alabama to Panama City.

I have taken our 34' 5th wheel through Atlanta on four trips south to southern FL following this route. Yea it is a pain to watch 6 lanes of 75 mph traffic with half of them texting and cutting you off but we have not found any way to avoid Atlanta.
I listen to my XM radio traffic reports before nearing Atlanta in order to avoid accidents.

With the Parkliner I tend to travel near the speed limit(posted and the 65 mph limit of the tires). Because we have an over 500 mile range with the tow vehicle for the Parkliner we stop for 10-15 minutes every 1 1/2 to 2 hours. I need the break to stretch. The net result is an average speed of around 50 mph over the duration of Interstate travel. Less on secondary and back roads.

As with most interstate in the East where they are nearly bumper-to-bumper traveling 5-15 mph over the speed limits with inattentive drivers, I85 is no different. Being alert, leaving room ahead and not being in the right hand lane where there are more than 2 lanes help reduce the stress.

Timing your arrival into Atlanta so that you arrive between 1 and 3 pm can help.

If you are heading down I185 S toward Columbus and need a rv park check out the Pine Mountain @ RVC Outdoor Destinations | RV Sites, Cottages, Yurts, Cabins. We have stayed there a number of times.

Enjoy your trip and just be alert for idiots!


Joe MacDonald 11-09-2015 09:46 AM

try "distance between" it will give you a good baseline, i used it this year when i went to sturgis, and we needed to find parts at a dealer we could reach while open, it was fairly accurate.


RogerDat 11-09-2015 10:49 AM

I'm another in the 50 mph average speed category. In mountains the scenic stops and such along with slow curves probably get around 35 mph travel average.

I'm either in one of two modes that both start with "who cares". I'm going such a short distance that getting there and getting settled in before dark has a huge margin of error. Or I'm on a cannonball run and will stop if I'm tired, take a nap until I wake up and hit the road again, or spouse will drive and I'll nap then we switch off. Either one tends to end up within 10 mph of each other. 50 for with camper 60 for with car only.

And yes I sometimes do better than that average which is nice but not really essential or important. If arrival time is critical - leave earlier.

honda03842 11-09-2015 10:53 AM


Once you really begin traveling you'll define a travel style and know how long it takes to get from a to b.

Our normal style is 150 miles a day and it takes 3-4 hours.

cmartin748 11-09-2015 03:38 PM

I drive about 55 to 60 and I figure 2 hours per 100 miles and it comes out real close. That includes rest and fuel stops.

Wayne Collins 11-09-2015 07:16 PM

Drive times
We use 50 mph as a good average. On those mapping websites you may be able to select routing to "avoid highways" meaning interstates/freeways/toll roads. to get a more realistic answer when towing the trailer.
Our Scamp goes up to the speed limit, even on 70 mph roads, but slower when ever it is safe.

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