View Full Version : Is driving 1000 miles a day for three days overdoing it?

2nd Aug 2011, 19:13
I'm used to being sat still moving at high speed for long periods of time, but is 16 hours a day at the wheel every day for three days simply too much?

All motorway/autoroute, have cruise control and a lovely car to do it in, will cruise at circa 75 mph.

As a person, I know I will have no problems bagging the first thousand miles in 16 hours because I have a high fatigue threshold and enjoy driving. But I've never been 'tested' for longer, so have no idea what to expect from my body.

Will it be hell?

Has anybody else done something similar? Would be interested to know.

And we all know about the dangers of driving whilst tired, so let's spare the safety lecture for now please! At this point I'm just seeking advice.

Cheers :cool:

p.s. just to add, the theoretical agenda is 16 hrs drive, 8 hrs sleep, etc etc.

2nd Aug 2011, 19:25
Well, I won't be the one picking bits of you out of the Armco.

But, in theory, at an average of 75mph you'll need 13.333 hours to do your 1000 miles. That gives you another 2h40mins rest time so I would advise NOT doing a 16/8 (driving/rest) but spread the resting time out a bit more, taking a short break every couple of hours to get out and stretch your legs a bit.

One thing will be certain though, you'll be knackered on day 3. I wouldn't risk it.

2nd Aug 2011, 19:33
With the right vehicle it will be a lot easier, that's for sure. I did a 1,100km drive in a Volkswagen camper van some years back in a day and that was pushing things. That said if it's in summer (i.e good conditions) and there aren't too many traffic issues and/or roadworks it will be more doable. I'd say your biggest enemies will be lower back pain, upper back and neck fatigue and even tension in the hands. Perhaps some coping strategies might help, forplanned is forearmed :8 Also it will be a mental effort and it would be clever to break the route down mentally into sections and just stay in the section being driven with the mind and let the rest come to you when it should.


green granite
2nd Aug 2011, 19:53
I would suspect if you did you'd spend the next 2 days recovering so it's not worth it. You may as well take 5 and enjoy it.

A A Gruntpuddock
2nd Aug 2011, 20:01
"will cruise at circa 75 mph"

A real optomist!

2nd Aug 2011, 20:04
but is 16 hours a day at the wheel every day for three days simply too much?If the husband is still chasing you then it's probably not enough. :E

Um... lifting...
2nd Aug 2011, 20:07
My questions would start with "Why?" As in: "Why ever would you want to?"

75mph... that's slow where I live.


2nd Aug 2011, 20:15
Why stop ?
That is what coffee is for.As the Beastie Boys used to sing "No sleep til brooklyn"
Sleep when your dead.Keep going until you see at least three road lines.Use the NASA diapers and no need for bathroom breaks should be able to make it in three or four fuel stops :}
If you get tired go faster the adrenelin will wake you up:eek:

2nd Aug 2011, 20:21
Sounds like a challenge! Where are you planning on going? You are facing an equivalent to completing the 'Cannonball Baker Sea-To-Shining-Sea Memorial Trophy Dash' single handed. Not even Brock Yates Jr has done that...... A thousand miles in a day is easy providing you have a decent lie on the next. Repeating 500 miles a day for days on end is easy, if boring after a while. Your trip is going to be memorable. Just accept that you might need a power nap now and again. I'd go as long as poss each day, but don't short change yourself on a good nights sleep. :ok:

Krystal n chips
2nd Aug 2011, 20:24
" Is driving 1000 miles a day for three days overdoing it?


I'm used to being sat still moving at high speed for long periods of time, but is 16 hours a day at the wheel every day for three days simply too much

Hence the reason for the name you chose on here then ......

Just sign the form leaving all your worldly goods to a deserving cause please....me for example...:E

2nd Aug 2011, 20:26
I quite regularly drive 820 miles in 11 hours with 200 of them being in England, which really, really slows things up. I have the car for the job though and I don't drink very much at all on the journey. If you're driving outside of the UK on autoroutes then I'd give it a whirl. Tolls do take more time than you'd think and if you're in a right hooker you might consider holding out a baseball cap with a note tucked under a stone through the left window if you're on your own. That'll be the hardest part, not having anyone to prompt you when you start to hallucinate.

2nd Aug 2011, 20:31
Ok I'll bite.

Whilst others could do it - I know I couldn't.

2nd Aug 2011, 20:40
I'd be most worried about the boredom factor. Got a good selection of music to listen to? You'll need it.

2nd Aug 2011, 20:43
My mate and I drove from NYC to LA and back a lot of years ago. The outbound drive took us 6 days (we were taking it easy and camped etc). The drive back we did it in 4 days with hardly any stops (but not an optimal routing). Of course we were in our 20s, fit, and took 8 hour stretches each (as well as handfulls of NoDoze). The thunderstorm in Pheonix at 2am kept us awake I can tell you.

We were delivering cars and the company owner said the fastest he had done a delivery from NYC to LA was 3 days. Yahoo Maps says Trip distance: 2782.76 mi Time: 41 hrs 16 mins - I assume non-stop :E

Good luck.


2nd Aug 2011, 21:32
No thanks. As a former lorry driver, I enjoyed the long hours behind the wheel, but it was punctuated (for me anyway) with several stops during the day for drop offs/deliveries. The one time I tried it on a holiday across France ("we'll get the journey out of the way") I got very tired indeed after about 9 hours. The roads were clear and the scenery was great, the average speed was high, but the weather was hot and my concentration was completely shot (probably dangerously so) by the time we arrived at our destination. I wouldn't do it all in one go again, but maybe that's just me getting old.

2nd Aug 2011, 21:39
If you are not sure you can do it you might not get any older;)! I too have a beautiful car that cossets every mile but also have a Rickman Ranger trials car, I know which one I am most likely to fall asleep in!!

On the plus side of course you can always plan to do it and if you get tired just stop!

2nd Aug 2011, 21:44
Will you be solo or with a buddy? Even if you're doing all the driving, a second person makes a difference - though only to a point.

Typical policy in my (non transport) industry is max 10 hours driving on any day, inclusive of rest stops every two hours, observing speed limits. Break the rules and you're out - regardless of tenure or pay grade.

And we all know about the dangers of driving whilst tired, so let's spare the safety lecture for now please!

Have to say, if you really knew the dangers, you wouldn't be contemplating this. I'd rather ride with a drunk driver than somebody who'd been 15 hours behind the wheel. Tempting to say "I'll be fine" but seriously, this is a lot to take on.

2nd Aug 2011, 21:48
Having had a quick look at your profile you must have passed at least two human performance exams. Did any of it sink in or is HPL only applicable to your job and not the safety of other road users?

Please, think again.

2nd Aug 2011, 21:59
You need to pace yourself bearing in mind that you slow down almost imperceptibly as the distance goes on and on.
Start off driving as fast as you can whenever you can. Coming north through Europe its 220 kms at every opportunity. Going south on the M11, well, you can't really blat along at more than a ton in miles per hour but you try your best. Keep hard at max speed for two hours and reduce the speed you try to maintain by about 5-10kms an hour per hour. That way, after five or six hours driving you'll be coasting along at 180kms/hr which is a really comfortable speed to hold for a while. By the end of the long day you should be maintaining about 150-160kms/hr. That way your speed will always stay in tandem with your fatigue level which will always be greater than you think it is. Cruise control is a damocletian sword. I only ever use it when I want to have a really good stretch. You can Google around on the internet and find stuff to spray on the licence plate which seems to work well enough. It's illegal in Britain of course because it serves a useful function.

2nd Aug 2011, 22:02
Just remembered many years ago I was hit head on along the Balcombe Road by a taxi driver that had fallen asleep after working a fourteen hour day. Wrote off the car behind mine and knocked my mini cooper straight off the road and through a hedge. Fortunately no one was seriously hurt but it does happen......so if in doubt don't.

2nd Aug 2011, 22:37
Thanks for the great replies, fantastic to have a mixed response.

First of all to Krystal n chips, Crepello and McGoonagall, allow me to mention that I am very aware of the effects even a 3 or 4 hour drive can have, as I'm sure we all are. Although I have a theory that seems to work well with me. As cavortingcheetah has mentioned, I start every journey fast, making as much ground as I can in the 'honeymoon' period of the journey, when I am enjoying the scenery and very much alert. My speed gradually decreases as the journey goes on, and as we all know, after two or three hours, things can become a bit of a bore. But then again, thinking about it, most 'long' journeys within the UK are around 3-5 hours driving, and I believe that groggy, foggy, anxious feeling sets in not because of being at the wheel for a few hours, but because below about 100 miles to go, you can smell the dirt of home (or your destination), and begin to wind down anticipating the end of the journey.
I have to take into account fatigue on such an expeditious drive, granted, but if I find the right balance between relaxation and entertainment, I think I can apply the same theory, in that I will go on, and on, and on, until I achieve my goal at the end of each day, or the point at which it becomes unsafe, whichever be the sooner.

I used to fly 6-8 hours a day in a diesel 172 at 60 kts and 600 agl in the UK and Ireland in the middle of Summer, round and round in circles, day after day, non stop, and if there was enough daylight, after an hour's rest I could have (reluctantly) jumped back in for another 5 and landed safely at the end. I learnt that this was approximately my body's absolute safe capacity in one day, for a maximum of around five days before needing rest. I know about boredom ;) I am also basing a lot of assumptions regarding the drive on these experiences.


On the plus side of course you can always plan to do it and if you get tired just stop!

Best single sentence here and right on the money fella. I like to think I'm aware of my own limitations. The car is equipped with brakes, and laybys are fantastic inventions. I am not trapped if I cannot continue...


Northampton - Gibraltar Rock - Northampton. I can provide a more intricate itinerary if required! I'm doing it because I can, and because I like to challenge myself. To the naysayers, I say, rest assured, I shall not be killing anyone 'just because I can'.

cavortingcheetah, don't worry, that was the plan anyway!

I don't think other road users are at risk... Despite my 'drive as if they're out to kill ya' attitude, some credit needs to be given to the human being, which is an intelligent animal. Short of me slumping over the wheel and sideswiping someone from the carriageway (I will be tucked up a hotel before this happens), I think most people can spot a driver 'not on form', and avoid them as necessary.

These are brilliant responses, and despite my 'justifications' above, I'm taking it all well and truly in, and will be keeping everyone's comments in the forefront of my mind when making my final decisions as to routing and time.

I want to do it solo, with some help from Duran Duran...


2nd Aug 2011, 22:55
On the thruways one can certainly drive vast distances at constant high speed and little interruption with little delay. The enthusiast will develop a preference for North of the Lakes or South of the lakes, and avoid such bottlenecks as Toronto. The close student will notice that the trip is East - West or West - East, and that means a whole lot of steady sun in the eyes, which is a real pain. That lucky ol' sun does nuthin' at all but roll around Heaven all day. When I used to do it I would start very early, rest, and conclude very late, as much in darkness as I could.

2nd Aug 2011, 23:23
You can Google around on the internet and find stuff to spray on the licence plate which seems to work well enough. It's illegal in Britain of course because it serves a useful function.

Except there is no such product that actually works.

2nd Aug 2011, 23:53
Polarised sunglasses (level 3). Level 4 are forbidden for driving, but in regard of the time you will spend with the sun straight in the eyes...

Have you thought about sleeping on the boat ?
A night trip between Plymouth and Roscoff for example, or Portsmouth-Cherbourg.
Depart the previous evening, sleep on the boat and start driving early in the morning when you're already in France. It would save you some driving hours for the first day.
I would chose Portsmouth-Caen in regard of the roads towards South of France : at the beginning, speed limit is 130 km/h instead of 110.

Windy Militant
3rd Aug 2011, 00:05
Be wary of the Hypnotic effect of Motorways and Auto routes. The really dangerous thing is that you can drift off into a semi conscious fugue state without realising its happening. There was a shift in design of Motorways in the UK after they noticed a high number of crashes on the first stage of the M1 which was perfectly straight and all the road furniture was evenly spaced. Nowadays Motorways have curves and a certain amount of irregularity built in to prevent the repetitive, lulling, soothing ............crash!
Apparently some new cars have alertness monitoring systems to keep you awake.

3rd Aug 2011, 00:19
I would like to offer another perspective; in regional Australia long distances between anything is all there is; good roads and bad. Some people I worked with would drive 14 hours to go shopping for the weekend and think nothing of it, nearly all of it on unsealed roads; standard fare. Another factor is timing, not time but timING. When you are going to do your 16 hours is a major consideration; two examples being nocturnal animal behaviour and the drivers ability to either adapt or endure. To some it's daunting, to others nothing at all.

glad rag
3rd Aug 2011, 00:31
3 days later.....


3rd Aug 2011, 00:50
I've done long days driving and riding. 10 hours + in the car, 6-7 hours on a bike.
You need good rest and a good amount of water and nutrition. Naturally on the bike there's a greater incentive to stay awake.

In the car I used regular breaks to stretch my legs and to refocus the eyes. Music to keep stimulated and water to remain hydrated.
The best thing is to get good sleep per night.

3rd Aug 2011, 00:54

I made a living driving long distances for a while.

Sixteen hours is a long time....fatique is cumulative. Day three you will be tired, sore, and ready to get where ever it is you are goiing.

I usually take the last half of October and the first half of November for my anuual Elk Hunt in Washington State....book miles 2875 miles from my home in North Carolina. I have done it in three and a half days....and in five days. The five day trips are much better as I get to take a more rest breaks, eat more meals, get out and stretch (with the mandatory stops at Big Boy Toy Stores along the way).

Motorway (Interstate) driving is easy...boring....and depending upon the locale spent thinking about anything but driving. Having a background of driving back and forth across the country I have certain routes I prefer (weather, season, which friends are at home to crash with....) and sometimes the most direct route is the slowest.

I have done 1350 miles in one day.....way too much! 1090 miles in one day....more than enough. But 800-900 miles is no fun but tolerable. 700 miles and I can go all week.

Start very early....say 0400.....grab yer coffee and muffins....stop about 11 for Lunch....hit the Motel about 6PM....grab yer dinner....quaff a couple of beers while you check your email (unwind from the drive....) hit the sack after a good hot shower. Repeat till arrival.

It is more hours than miles that count.....put in the hours and the miles happen. Biggest secret....keep the drivers door closed as much as possible but take your breaks....drink a lot of coffee. The caffiene is not the benefit....getting out into the fresh air to leave your mark wakes you up!

3rd Aug 2011, 01:18
I used to drive from Milan to Midlands regularly, returning after a couple of days. Doable provided I chose the timings right so as to transit France at night. I prefer night driving. I also tended to avoid the autoroutes where possible just to make the drive interesting.

However, my longest run over multiple days was when I was young, foolish and invulnerable.

Norton Commando from Malta to Cornwall in a shade less than 4 days in 1970. I don't recall the actual distance but the ride was solo with one pannier loaded with tools, gaskets and oil and the other with a small pup tent, cooking stuff and a spare pair of shreddies. To those naysayers of Norton reliability, the ride was completed without incident except neceesary fettling each evening: oil, chain etc.

However, it took me about a month to return to a normal upright stance!:eek:

3rd Aug 2011, 01:48
No ones mentioned the bugs! Depending on the aerodynamic nuances of the front of your vehicle, you may well find yourself forced to stop at just about every service station in order to scrape thick, opaque layers of them off the windscreen.

As for the distance, I've found 1300 odd miles encompassing a Dover-Calais/Calais-Dover fast-ferry crossing to be quite doable at a hit, but not in a particularly fun way and certainly not something I'd plan to do on two successive days. Motorway driving is plain dull and the alternatives aren't suitable for achieving big mileages in a day. So, if it's about the drive rather than the destination, I'd plan a shorter route driven on roads which will stimulate the senses at least a little.

Metro man
3rd Aug 2011, 02:02
I've driven 1000 KILOMETERS in a day before, left at 6.00am to beat the city traffic and pulled into a motel at 6.00pm for a good nights rest. About 12 hours driving including fuel stops and lunch. Not the greatest of cars but it was automatic with air conditioning.

Next day I completed my journey with a 7.00am start and a 1.00pm arrival.

No way would I have wanted to do 1000 MILES in a day and certainly not for three straight days.

3rd Aug 2011, 02:13
You have your reasons, but the enterprise seems to have a high level of risk to others.

Read the cautionary tale of Pierre Levegh at Le Mans in 1955:

Pierre Levegh - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pierre_Levegh)

If you're 'testing yourself', and can give yourself more time, why not consider a long trek by foot across some challenging terrain?

3rd Aug 2011, 02:17
In my younger days and when I lived in Sydney, would drive up to Fraser Island north of Brisbane to spend a long weekend with friends who were camping there. Often take the Friday off, leaving very early, returning on the Monday. That must have been at last a thousand miles each way for two days on the beach. Not that we didn't have nice beaches in Sydney, but popping up to Fraser Island for the weekend was image building.

Worrals in the wilds
3rd Aug 2011, 02:26
Same as metro man, I've done about 1200km in a day. It's okay as a one off, but there's no way I could have safely or comfortably backed it up with another 1000 the next day and the day after.

I've done a few trips driving about eight-ten hours on the road per day and found that was all right, but I wouldn't want to do any more over several days. Even a one day break between long driving days is enough to refresh you, it's the repeated days that are painful.

I don't think other road users are at risk... Despite my 'drive as if they're out to kill ya' attitude, some credit needs to be given to the human being, which is an intelligent animal. Short of me slumping over the wheel and sideswiping someone from the carriageway (I will be tucked up a hotel before this happens)

Have you ever fallen asleep at the wheel? I have on a long trip, it's deceptively easy. So has a good friend who was a professional road train driver, even he didn't see it coming. One minute you're thinking 'gee I should pull over at the next stop' and the next, your head is on the steering wheel. Fortunately I woke up, but plenty of people don't and end up injuring themselves and others. If you are driving multiple sixteen hour days it is entirely possible that you will fall asleep. That's why long haul truck drivers are legally limited in the number of hours they can drive per day.

I think most people can spot a driver 'not on form', and avoid them as necessary.

Why should they have to? :mad:

Nothing wrong with a road trip, I've done several across some of the dryest and most remote country in the western world. However, I think your timings are over ambitious. Anyway, you seem to have made your mind up so good luck and I sincerely hope you have a great time.

Charlie Foxtrot India
3rd Aug 2011, 03:00
14 hours a day is my limit though that's more a function of kangaroos on the road at dusk than actually needing to stop driving through fatigue. Did Perth to Sydney and back in a week once, 8000 kms! You need some seriously good music, a swag and an EPIRB...

Nervous SLF
3rd Aug 2011, 03:03
Sorry Half but IMHO you are being a tad silly and you will be risking other road users lives. Please think of them even though you appear not to care much for yourself. In NZ commercial drivers are only allowed a max driving time of five and a half hours before a mandatory stop of 30 minutes. A total time including breaks must not exceed 13 hours and you must have at least 10 hours break between these working days.

3rd Aug 2011, 03:33
Some eons back, when doing school in the western US and needing to connect with an East-coast charter flight departure across the Atlantic, I encountered an acquaintance from the International Center who had somehow arranged to ferry a near-new Chevrolet Impala and deliver it in NYC. He was booked on the same charter from JFK (wasn't called that in those days) to CDG (also not called that, back then). We very quickly converged on a plan whereby I would share fuel expenses (about $0.23 per gallon, those days) and split the driving.

Road distance likely was longer then - because the Interstate Highway System was incomplete but under construction. Today a query pegs the driving distance at just about 3000 miles. Because of other schedules, and the drop-dead departure date & time for our 1-of a kind charter, already paid-for, we were constrained to leave not earlier, nor later, than four days ahead of the mark. It all seemed quite do-able at that, even with a diversion into Manhattan to deliver the vehicle to its owner.

Things went fine from the start. We set some goals, now lost in memory, but roughly on the order of 900 miles driving per day to allow a half-day of slack at the destination. Given the absence of any speed limits in the State of Nevada at that time, the plan aimed for full-throttle there and a nominal bit (15 mph comes to mind) over the speed-limit everywhere else.

The vehicle was your typical pre-75 Detroit land-yacht -- large in every dimension, quite wide, and powerful with what was likely the 327 cu inch engine tuned toward 350hp. Not sure if it had seat belts .. probably not.

The Chevvy comported itself quite well, except for the unlimited-speed segment in NV -- over straight roads at 115 mph or so indicated. Just above that the nose tended to lift up quite noticeably to a point where steering was no longer effective due to decreased surface contact between the front wheels and the road. That did not seem like something for experimentation - without a plan. Otherwise it ran just fine, without balking at all, but we later noticed the fuel mileage had moved down from the 11 or 12 mpg range to more like 6 to 4. Wanting to be frugal, the limit was set at 105 mph thereafter.

Crossing the Rockies was nice enough, but something began to seem not right. The alternator support bracket -- evidently not the racing version - had a crack and was making a bit of noise, so we nursed it rather more gently into Denver -- and lost about four hours (or 300mi) having the problem repaired.

From there out the focus increasingly was on schedule-keeping. Alternating in 4 or 5 hour stretches worked ok, but the quality of sleep was poor due to road-noise, etc. Somewhere East of the Mississippi heavy rains and road construction kicked in, slowing progress and making sleep even harder. By mid-Indiana we were both exhausted and decided to break the cycle by simply stopping for a few hours - in the rain - in a cemetery, it was. Thus refreshed we regained focus, tightened up the schedule and upped the velocity a bit, and soldiered on thru to Manhattan -- to inch slowly for the last miles in a rush-hour traffic jam.

Rather hastily handed-over the Impala, caught a cab (in molasses traffic) to the Swissair Terminal downtown, and then crawled onto the Company bus to check-in at JUST the right time - an hour or so before wheels-up departure.

It was among the bumpiest flights (in sustained effect) that I can recall -- cruising right-angles to the thermocline boundary of two layers that
rippled like a washboard, producing a reliable thump-thump-thump at 5 or ten second intervals for most of the night. Open bar and exhaustion made it bearable enough, but the entire 4-engine stretch aircraft seemed to let out a spontaneous collective cheer when down and rolling-out at landing.

So.. much cannot be predicted, but what will result for certain - if you survive your plan - will be a set of vivid recollections and a windy story to pass along to the next generation exploring the bounds of impossibility.

And what followed for me shortly afterward was really interesting.

3rd Aug 2011, 03:41
The company I'm flying with as a health and safety policy of a two hours max driving without a stop for rest or driver swap.
This when we are traveling with rental car or company's car.

The funny thing is their limitations for aerial work is 12 hours single pilot per day.
With a max of 5hrs (plus ferry time) for a single flight!
Working low level, most of the time into turbulence, no auto pilot involved and all kind of birds trying to "Al Qaeda" themselves into the windshield amongst other things :rolleyes:

Two crew aircraft also got the max of 12hrs per day. But 8 instead of 5 (plus ferry time) per flight.

Trying to single drive 1000 miles per day for 3 days is silly.
Like said, you will need two days to recover not mentioning the total lack of driving attention you will have at the end of your trip.
Good luck with that and also to all that will be around you on the road!

galaxy flyer
3rd Aug 2011, 04:04
With some experience in long distance driving, I'd say something on the order of 750-800 miles is the maximum milage on repeated days. Transcon team drivers in semis do about 5,500 round trip in 4.5-5 days. Miserable life, I'd suspect.

The trick in my experience is to eat well, get sleep and get up at a time that fits your circadian rhythms. I could do 750 miles a day by getting up at 6:30, have brekkie, have lunch and be done for the day around 8:00 pm with dinner and good sleep.


Metro man
3rd Aug 2011, 05:50
Whilst on holiday a couple of months ago I was travelling behind a four wheel drive on a motorway in the outside lane at 100km/h. The driver started wandering about from one side of the lane to the other, next thing his right front wheel was in the grass on the median strip. He appeared to realise what was happening as suddenly the car straightened, unfortunately he went straight into the end of a metal barrier which started as the motorway began to cross a river.

The vehicle flew up into the air, rolled to the right and slid down the bank. Fortunately no one was in the middle lane which I had instinctively swerved into, without looking, as it appeared at first that the 4WD was going to go the other way back into the traffic.

It was the closest I've ever come to a serious accident and changed my opinion of the traffic police and their enforcement of road rules.

I don't know the reason why the driver went off the road, it was a bit early in the day for drink driving. Coming into town on a Sunday afternoon he may have been driving for hours..........

Krystal n chips
3rd Aug 2011, 06:57
" Driver Fatigue is an important cause of road crashes. (http://www.smartmotorist.com/traffic-and-safety-guideline/driver-fatigue-is-an-important-cause-of-road-crashes.html)

The " I am doing it because I can " view is enlightening...it falls into the same category as "Hold my beer, I'll be back shortly..now watch this "...

I make no apologies for saying that, based on the comments in your posts, you fall into the "when " not " if " category of accident potential....be that on the road or in the air.

Will you be writing your own obituary then ?

3rd Aug 2011, 07:07
Read the cautionary tale of Pierre Levegh at Le Mans in 1955:

While Levegh's stretch at the wheel may have been foolhardy (in the sense that over 10 hrs at the wheel of a speeding car is foolhardy) it is most likely that Hawthorn's braking forced Macklin into his path with disasterous consequences.

It is probable that Levegh had nowhere to go and the crash was unavoidable in the circumstances and that fatigue was not a major factor in the disaster. The Mike Hawthorn supporter's club will no doubt dispute this contention.

1955 Le Mans Disaster (http://www.ewilkins.com/wilko/lemans.htm)


3rd Aug 2011, 07:10
Many moons ago when i was courting my now Mrs I would regulary drive from Elgin, Scotland to Cambourne, Cornwall. Roughly 746 miles.

This was prior to speed cameras and the motorway police were not encumbered by 'Elf and Safety. They drove the big Rover 800 saloons with sodding great red lights on the rear parcel shelf, so were less than invisilble to the alert.

On numerous occasions when spotting one the Rozzer's Beasts I would slow down and draw level, make eye contact with said Rozzer. On most occasions I would be given a nod and a wave off/on to resume my mile crunching.

I was stopped only once, not for speeding but for the Rozzer to have natter about my motor! MPG etc

Was I driving fast? Yes. Was I a hazard to other road users? Well no not really as most of the time it was in the wee small hours and there really weren't that many peeps on the road.

Without a doubt having the right tool/car makes long distance driving quite feasible. That said I am talking about 20+ years ago .............

Cambourne-Findhorn 7hrs 25mins!:O

Lon More
3rd Aug 2011, 07:29
if you're in a right hooker you might consider holding out a baseball cap with a note tucked under a stone through the left window if you're on your own
What a good idea. Much better than chucking coins in a basket. My problems the other way round, the Dartford Crossing cost £3.50 i.s.o. 1.80 when I missed. Way too busy to run round searching for them.

Did nearly 5000k last week, enough for me these days, on everything from continental motorways to Highland tracks and the worst bits, and the worst driving, was on M1/M25. Stranraer to Carlisle road was virtually deserted on Saturday and was getting up to over the ton much of the time.

henry crun
3rd Aug 2011, 09:04
I remember reading a long time back about a Frenchman who did over 250,000 miles in one year.

After the Citroen Light 15 first appeared in the late 1930's people were suspicious of the torsion bar suspension and front wheel drive.
To prove the car, a friend of Andre' Citroen drove a circuit of about 700mls around southern France every day for one year.
Each night while he slept the car was given the standand servicing.

How true this is I cannot say but if it is, it must be a record which will stand for a very long time.

3rd Aug 2011, 09:33

Small point

It's Camborne, not Cambourne.

I'm with K & C on this one (nice to be in full agreement for a change ;)) Pressonitis is a known killer in aviation - same applies to driving.

3rd Aug 2011, 09:43
It's indeed true, Mr Crun. Francois Lecot was the fellow. I believe there's a book which chronicles the feat.

glad rag
3rd Aug 2011, 11:04
No ones mentioned the bugs!

Actually that IS a VERY good point.

When contracting at cottesmore used to drive off a night shift to Perthshire.

Despite it's legs, the worse thing about the VW TDI was the lack of headlight washers.

The difference really was noticeable after a "splash and dash" that included cleaning the lights and it had no comparison with the washer system on the [thirsty] awd 2.5l 20v turbo V70...god I miss that car.

3rd Aug 2011, 14:30
I would think that a selection of music might help out here. Of course the selection is critical considereing your ability to absorb the music after 13 hours.

I was thinking somethin from Bach

3rd Aug 2011, 14:48
I once drove from Jugenheim/Hessen, (Germany) departing 23:00 to Frascati/Rome (Italy) arriving at 16:30 the next day, in a Fiat 125S. Spent one day at Frascati and then started back. Got as far as Lake Como and conked out, could not have driven another kilometer, straight to nearby hotel, next day slowly back to Germany. A woman was to blame (of course).

Answer to your question, 1000 miles a day for three days: could one do it ? Yes. Should one do it ? No.

Incidently years ago I met a taxi driver who picked up three Greeks outside FFaM airport where they'd been unable to get flights. They needed to get to Thessalonika for their father's funeral. He drove them non-stop from Frankfurt am Main to Thessalonika, waited until the funeral/obsequies had taken place, and then drove them back.

Said it was a "nice drive". (And a nice earner).

3rd Aug 2011, 15:02
Except there is no such product that actually works.

There is no spray-on stuff, right. However there is a 3M reflective tape available from reflectivelyyours.com which has a 0.5º incidence between incoming and reflected light, which appears dull grey in daylight and only moderately reflective at night unless you hold (e.g.) a torch an inch from your eyes, in which case the reflection of your own torch will blind you.

This tape must NOT, repeat NOT, be attached to the number plate itself which is against the law, but a 1cm wide strip applied to the plastic number plate backing plate will greatly add to the safety of nightime driving. I have driven at night behind my own so-equipped car and reflections in the car's headlamps are quite moderate but enough to make a driver, say a tired driver, in the car following you, more aware of you.

I have also photographed the rear of my own car at night with a flash-equipped camera held to one side and above my head, and the results were impressive.

3rd Aug 2011, 15:26

Truckers regularly do the trip from the Eastern States of Australia to the West and vice versa in 4 days or less (that's 2,500 miles approx) and there's no problem at all........


3rd Aug 2011, 15:41
Well you don't really know what works unless you speed all the time, set off a lot of flashes, and never get a ticket. The reflective tape sounds a brilliant idea and combined with PhotoBlocker should provide a degree of welcome immunity.
I have to admit that I have been stopped for speeding many times in South Africa but I have always found that a couple of buffaloes always sorts things out.

sled dog
3rd Aug 2011, 16:31
French Gendarmerie Nationale are not known for their sense of humour.......if you cruise at the speeds some have recommended, and are caught, not only will you have your licence taken on the spot, your car will also be removed . Court case could follow........ :{ Take more time, stay more or less at the speed limits :} . 1600 kms a day for three days :eek:

Krystal n chips
3rd Aug 2011, 16:40
Just two small questions re your route.....the M1 currently has a large chunk of roadworks not far from you......and what about the bit of water you have to cross be it under or over....both of which are going to affect your timings somewhat.

3rd Aug 2011, 16:41
You can indeed lose your car and fines are spot and steep. The problem with the French police lies at the toll booths. I have known them check the ticket time of entry to the sector with the arrival time at their rendez-vous. Simple eyeball maths will determine the speed limit abuse factor. So the trick is still to go quite fast in an attempt to average 150kms/hr on the toll roads. The limits there are actually 130kms/hr dry roads and 100kms/hr in the rain. Then just stop for a fill up and a coffee at a road house before the toll gate where the Flics may or may not be waiting. Garmin or Michelin maps can help in these calculations. It whiles away the boring hours of driving. The only country in Europe where you really have to watch it is Switzerland, to speed there is virtually if not actually a criminal offence.
The Chunnel is great. You've a two hour window on your departure time either way on a cheap ticket and if you buy the £199 (?) open version, you can just roll up any time and get straight on. You drive right on via the first class coffee shed which has a functioning toilet so all you lose is an hour at the most. Only problem comes between around 23.20-01.30 when the system closes altogether.

3rd Aug 2011, 16:58
Beware of urban myths. The Gendarmerie Nationale have no authority to inspect toll-booth tickets and don't waste their time doing so. What they do instead is park an unmarked car on the hard shoulder or some other convenient spot with a good view of the road, zap your speed as you pass by and radio to their moto-colleague a few km up ahead, who then pulls you over and asks you to walk home.

On the autoroute near me, the Gendarmes have this down to a fine art, even to the point of intercepting vehicles approximately 1km from the next junction which just happens to have a control centre right beside it. They pull the vehicles off, get them parked up, escort the driver to the front desk, say (words to the effect of) "220" and leave the rest to the civilians while they get back out on the road. They work in pairs for even greater efficiency.

Of the cars I've seen pulled off at this junction, 90% are UK reg - I reckon they're already half an hour behind schedule heading for the Channel with 550km still to go, but who knows ...

You're biggest problem is that you've got no room for error. 75mph average? If you're on the motorway and come up behind an 18km traffic jam like we had last weekend (speeding driver :* ), you've got no option but to sit it out and watch your average drop.

What dates have you got in mind?

3rd Aug 2011, 17:08
There is an connecting expressway between Luzhou and the Chongqing/Chengdu Expressway. The distance between the toll booths is 60 kilometres and the limit is 120 k/hr. For every minute you arrive before thirty minutes you get fined 10 yuan, about £1. The last kilometre or so is clogged with Audis, Beamers and Mercs with drivers holding a ticket and looking at their watches. There is no penalty apart from the fine so I don't know why they bothered, I didn't. I was never more than three minutes early and 30 yuan is nothing for a big German car owner.

3rd Aug 2011, 17:20
In fact, the official limits are 130 km/h dry and 110 wet, but I don't know anyone applying the wet rule.

50 km/h above the speed limit is a criminal offence here too. No more license, no more car, no more freedom... the only thing they give you to wipe your tears is a huge fine.
Not to mention the price for the lawyer (my divorce was expensive, this must be worse).

Moreover, driving too fast could make them believe you're a "go-fast" (drug dealer). Special police forces (also renowned to be anti-terrorists) use big guns to deal with this kind of speeders... :uhoh:

My method to drive a little bit faster is to read the speed on the GPS. It's always a bit lower than the speed on the car's indicator. For example, my car shows 137km/h when the GPS says 130.
At 130 GPS, radars don't go off (which is a good news, as it is the real speed).

With your regulator, you can play driving at 140 GPS (148 counter), keep an eye on the radars (shown by the GPS) and slow down to 130 GPS when there's one. That keeps awake !

They deduce 5km/h below 100 and 5% above 100km/h from the radar speed. So if the radar says you were at 138 instead of 130, the caculated speed will be 131, you lose 1 point, pay €45.

PS : Sorry for I didn't translate the speeds...

3rd Aug 2011, 18:04
will cruise at circa 75 mph
I suspect that that figure is mentioned as it is the notional speed that will go unchallenged on UK motorways subject to the 70mph speed limit, rather than an anticipated average speed.

There are sections subject to 50mph limits because of roadworks (which may or may not be active), and these are enforced by average speed ANPR cameras (http://www.cctv-information.co.uk/i/An_Introduction_to_ANPR), so speeding through these sections is not recommended.

I read your location as Northampton. In the 1960s, the Chief Constable of Northampton was one John Gott, who was a BMC works rally-driver in his spare time. He didn't enforce the 70mph limit on motorways, but the patrols concentrated on the standard of driving rather than actual speed.http://www.qtl.co.il/img/copy.pnghttp://www.google.com/favicon.ico (http://www.google.com/search?q=ANPR%20cameras)http://www.qtl.co.il/img/trans.png

3rd Aug 2011, 18:34
Lots of permanent speed traps here in Spain & Catalunia, the latter brought an additional 30 on-line on 1st August. As for the old mobile bear-with-radar they are everywhere. They have special procedures for dealing with cars with furrin' plates or drivers with furrin' licences as they can't subtract points from your licence.

It's a sad admission but I now stick strictly to the posted speed limits and about 60% of my fellow Catalans do the same. Buy a GPS warning device which will tell you when there's a speed trap ahead (and yes, they are legal).

Lon More
3rd Aug 2011, 18:47
John Gott, who was a BMC works rally-driver in his spare time.

Also one of the funny handshake mob IMHO.
I saw him in the dock one day at Luton Magistrates Court where he was charged with doing 50mph along the Old Bedford Road. He pleaded not guilty and explained that he had mis-read the rv-counter of his AH 3000(I think) for the speedo and thought he was doing 28mph. A bit suspicious for someone with his driving experience, however, case dismissed.
My case came next. I had entered a written plea of guilty to doing 45 mph a couple of minutes later and just went along to see if I could learn anything that would help with my Constitution & Law A level. I did, my plea for leniency as a student hurrying to a sick girl friend wasn't even read out and i was fined £6, a lot of money for me in 1966.

MetroMan wrote: it was a bit early in the day for drink driving.
The alcohol can remain in your system for hours. Quite a few people breathalysed in the morning are still well over the limit from the night before.or maybe he was texting?

Cacaphonix where does the ten hours behind the wheel come from? The link you gave says after three hours; most other sites I found globally agree with that.

3rd Aug 2011, 20:35
Cambourne-Findhorn 7hrs 25mins!:O

I'm no stranger to runs like that and yours is a very impressive time!

I'm doing Banff to Exeter (and back the next day) in a few weeks time, I'll give it my best shot...... but I'm on 6 points right now ;)

SMT Member
3rd Aug 2011, 21:34
Did Copenhagen-Venice-Munich-Copenhagen many, many years ago transferring rental cars. We'd gotten to know the guys at the office in Copenhagen, and had been promised "something nice" for the trip to Venice. That "something nice" turned out to be a Fiesta 1.1, which was anything but.

The loud pedal was more or less nailed to the floor as we made our way through Germany and into Austria, frequently having to drop into 3rd and sometimes 2nd to get the poor thing over the hills and mountains. We'd departed late afternoon, and around 16 hours and 1200 km later we were in Kaprun, where we went summer skiing on the glacier for a couple of hours. Fired up the Fiesta again and hauled it over something called the "Hochalpenstrasse", which sounded very promising indeed, into Italy. It turned out to be hairpins and steepness and 200 km stuck in 2nd gear. The Fiesta was a just a tad hot by then, and it's not impossible it had developed a bit of wobble during braking. Never mind that, we were on our way across the Po valley racing the local talent in their Fiat Unos.

Finally delivered the Fiesta after 1900ish kilometers and 23 hours, and I would be lying if I said the car was in any better condition than us. We immediately picked up a FIAT Croma and headed up to Munich, which took us only 6 hours or so, and we just made it before the rental car office closed at 2200. Got a Volvo 440 (a vile, vile, vile piece of vileness) and pointed the nose north and did a straight overnight back to Copenhagen.

All in all we did 3500 km (2000ish miles) in less than 48 hours, 500 of those kilometers were either on B or mountain roads. We didn't stop once for a proper sleep, only to get fuel, coke or food and have a leak. I had a short nap across the rear seats, only to wake up feeling the force of gravity wanting to squish me against the front seats and then there was a modest bang and we came to a stop. My partner had failed to pay attention and rear ended a nice German lady in her Golf. None of us slept after that.

3rd Aug 2011, 22:23
Once did Odense (middle of Denmark) to Lecce (southern southern Italy) and back in a Mini-Metro in mid winter.
2500km each way.

Week's testing around the Nardo test-track (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nard%C3%B2_Ring) in between the two trips.

sea oxen
3rd Aug 2011, 22:28

The same winter?

3rd Aug 2011, 22:31
Denmark was snowed-in and vehicle tests had to be done, so I drove down to Lecce in mid-December. Got back to Denmark just in time for Christmas.

3rd Aug 2011, 23:33
Is there a thread on here where blokes boast about how far up the wall they can pee? If so I think I'll have a look and see if the same 1000 miles a day/ NE Scotland to SW England at 100 mph average merchants are posting on there as well :(

Howard Hughes
3rd Aug 2011, 23:41
Have done 3800 klm in 3 days (Darwin to Melbourne), it's not for the faint hearted!

Worrals in the wilds
3rd Aug 2011, 23:53
Did you collapse and die once you got to Melbourne?:ouch:
Which route did you take, out of interest? Down the middle or around the edge? That's a long drive, but even that is less than the OP is proposing (2361 miles):eek::eek:

So the trick is still to go quite fast in an attempt to average 150kms/hr on the toll roads. The limits there are actually 130kms/hr dry roads and 100kms/hr in the rain. Then just stop for a fill up and a coffee at a road house before the toll gate where the Flics may or may not be waiting.

The truckies here do that now that tracking cameras have been introduced for trucks. They hoon along like bats out of hell until the pull in before the next camera, pull up, wait a while and then continue when it's safe to do so. I guess it's more fun than pottering along at the speed limit.

Howard Hughes
3rd Aug 2011, 23:58
Day1 - Darwin to Alice
Day 2 - Alice to Port Augusta
Day 3 - Port Augusta to Melbourne

Only scary moment was when an Emu ran out in front of the car just on dusk approaching Port Augusta!:eek:

Worrals in the wilds
4th Aug 2011, 00:04
Solid (both the drive and the emu;)). I've had a couple of close encounters of the emu kind, fortunately never hit one though :ouch:.

The other thing is that almost all Australian highways are very quiet when it comes to traffic. Most of the time you have the road to yourself which is reasonably relaxing. That's not the case in Europe and driving in traffic at speed requires quick reflexes and attention.

I find that one of the hardest parts of a driving trip is coming back into town and hitting a four lane motorway that's filled with traffic, particularly after several days driving without it and returning tired (scheduling has never been my strong point and I usually have a long drive back on the last day). I assume the planned trip would be on pretty busy roads the whole way, sharing the road with everything from trucks to Ferraris?

Howard Hughes
4th Aug 2011, 00:10
I couldn't imagne doing a similar drive in Europe, you would go crazy long before you reached your destination!

Oh and did I mention I did the trip in a Hilux dual cab towing a trailer, managed an average speed of almost spot on 100 kmh (including meal/fuel stops).

Worrals in the wilds
4th Aug 2011, 00:16
Pretty good. :ok:
Was that before speed limits were introduced in the Territory?

Howard Hughes
4th Aug 2011, 01:30
Yes, but the old Hilux wouldn't go much past 110 with the trailer on anyway!

4th Aug 2011, 01:34
While Levegh's stretch at the wheel may have been foolhardy (in the sense that over 10 hrs at the wheel of a speeding car is foolhardy) it is most likely that Hawthorn's braking forced Macklin into his path with disasterous consequences.

That prang, like the sinking of the Titanic, was the culmination of many factors. When I had an Austin Healey, a member of the local Triumph drivers' club told me that the accident at Le Mans was the fault of Donald Healey for producing a car so low at the back that it resembled a ski jump, whereas racing Triumphs had squared off-Kamm tails (not really true in 1955). If Levegh's car hadn't been launched into the air by the geometry of Macklin's Austin Healey the accident wouldn't have been anywhere near as bad.


Um... lifting...
4th Aug 2011, 04:06
This the Darwin Award thread? Or is this just the hopefuls?

4th Aug 2011, 04:36
This the Darwin Award thread? Or is this just the hopefuls?

Just some preliminary heats, and wistful nostalgia thereon.

Scary thing is that the Nexgen-plus entrants surely are out there right now, doing similar.

Um... lifting...
4th Aug 2011, 04:38
just some preliminary heats:D:D:D:D:D

4th Aug 2011, 05:10
For those planning on driving all day, just remember,dusk and Dawn are when the critters decide to run across the road; in North America and Africa (and Oz as per Howard) critters are big, heavy and can be lethal.

If you are doing sustained driving, one should take a break (fuel stops count) every 2-2.5hrs.

It makes a big difference.

4th Aug 2011, 05:11

4th Aug 2011, 06:30
Cacaphonix where does the ten hours behind the wheel come from? The link you gave says after three hours; most other sites I found globally agree with that.

Lon the 10 hours came from an article I read that said that the unfortunate Levegh could have expected to have driven at least 10 hours (most probably more) over the full twenty four hours in those days. As you point out he hadn't when fate and the hideous accident intervened.

When one considers all the risks factors that pertained in those days, tired men driving cars at those speeds must have certainly exacerbated the risks to all concerned.


4th Aug 2011, 13:45
I bet drinking a lot of tea and not making a pit stop would keep you from falling asleep

Lon More
5th Aug 2011, 13:17
I don't know if it's speed related however Rowan Atkinson, Blackadder, is in hospital after stuffing his Maclaren into a lamppost and/or tree near Peterborough

5th Aug 2011, 13:51
I seem to recall that he stuffed it up the back of a Mini just after buying it. The spirit of Mr Bean lives on.

5th Aug 2011, 14:03
Did Denver, CO to Blacksburg, VA in about 23 hours on August 1st, 2002. That's roughly 1,500 miles, with an average speed of about 65 mph. We had a radar detector, and we were speeding at every safe opportunity. 75 mph average speed is a very tall order if you're doing anything over a few dozen miles.

We were two people driving, so rest breaks were unnecessary (alternated napping and driving every 3-4 hours). We only stopped for gas, and when nature really called. The car was an old Honda Civic that served us well for that epic 8000+ mile, 3 week, coast-to-coast US roadtrip. I have to do that again at some point, preferably with a better car and some ladies to accompany us.

5th Aug 2011, 20:39
.....reading in, I find alwayzinit's claim of Cambourne to Findhorn in 7 hours 25 mins, frankly, unbelievable. That's 728 miles of anyone's money, giving an AVERAGE speed of 97 mph!!
On Jan 4 1991 I did St Columb Major to Kinloss in 11 hours to the sec. and that involved driving at indicated 100 from Exeter services to the M5/M6 junction. The average was 65mph.
Round about that time there were a few Cornwall based chaps at KSS who did the run regularly and a slight element of competition crept in. One hero did it in 10 hours!! Then common sense took over and the competition died off.

The Ancient Mariner

6th Aug 2011, 07:31
That's 728 miles of anyone's money, giving an AVERAGE speed of 97 mph!!

Cambourne to Findhorn is actually 544 miles, taking the speediest route.

average more like 73 mph!

6th Aug 2011, 09:58
I read an account of the development testing of the Citroen Traction Avant from the early 30's. Apparently a pub landlord was employed to drive a single prototype car, on the French roads, for 600 miles EVERY day for nearly a year. He drove 2 routes alternately and the car was checked and serviced at night following the normal routine. Must have been for a bet inspired by drink or something.


henry crun
6th Aug 2011, 10:27
There is an echo in this thread rans6andrew, can you hear it ?

6th Aug 2011, 11:19
....where is your Cambourne? The one I was talking about is the Camborne (no U) in Cornwall, and that definitely is 728 miles.

The Ancient Mariner

6th Aug 2011, 11:37
Remember the extended wheelbase, six wheel Citröen Loadrunner Bagagère that brought copies of the International Herald Tribune, printed in Paris, to Frankfurt a.M. Germany six days a week ? I quote from Wiki:

A number of CX estates were elongated and retrofitted with a second rear axle, mostly used for high speed bulk transport such as carrying newspapers across Europe. They are known as the "loadrunner" variant. Most of them were prepared by the French company Tissier.

They were given a full service once a week and clocked up amazing mileages on their overnight runs. I do not recall any reports of accidents but I'm sure they must had experienced the occasional prang.

6th Aug 2011, 11:46
Half-baked boy - Whatever you attempt... prior to departure, just don't take anything offered by mates/buddies/associates... that is accompanied by a statement such as... "take some of these! - they're great for keeping you awake, when you're drowsy!..." :suspect:

Metro man
6th Aug 2011, 12:12
Remember the extended wheelbase, six wheel Citröen Loadrunner Bagagère

You mean this.


Must have been fantastic on a long run.

Worrals in the wilds
6th Aug 2011, 12:31
It looks like a hearse!
Appropriate really, considering the thread topic :}.

6th Aug 2011, 14:39
When I was crazy, young, and in lust, I drove the 2500 kilometres from Salisbury (Rhodesia, not Wiltshire!) to Cape Town, in an old Ford Anglia, with just stops for peeing, fuelling, and a couple of quick shut eyes. I left before dawn and arrived at lunchtime the next day.

In retrospect, I must have been nuts!

6th Aug 2011, 15:44
Metro, I seem to remember one with a taller body that could carry more load, but after all these years perhaps my memory is playing tricks ! High-speed stability looks good, no radar traps in them far-off days....

Metro man
6th Aug 2011, 16:40
There have been a few variations, is this more what you had in mind ?