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Road Trips: How To Calculate How Far You Can Drive In A Day

Planning a road trip is hard work. You have to think about not only the route, the stops you’ll make, and where you’ll park but also how far you can drive in a day.

In general, it’s recommended that a single driver not drive more than nine hours in a single day, excluding breaks. Furthermore, it’s also recommended that for every 4.5 hours you drive, you should take a break of approximately 45 minutes. Essentially, this means that you can drive around 500 miles per day. This number is arrived at by multiplying the number of hours you expect to drive by your average speed. However, you’ll need to adjust this figure based on the speed limit of the roads you’re taking and whether you can expect to encounter things like toll roads or extended traffic.

If your road trip includes multiple drivers, then you should be okay to drive for a more extended period of time, provided that no single driver drives more than nine hours at a time. Either way, you’ll probably want to where you can get to within a certain period of time. This is important information to know to determine where you’ll sleep for the night or your dining options. The best way to find this out is to use a drive-time radius map.

What Is A Drive-Time Radius Map?

When you need to determine how far you can drive within a certain period of time, you can use this equation:

Number of Hours You Want To Drive x Your Average Driving Speed. 

However, this equation only tells you the miles you’ll travel. It doesn’t tell you where you’ll end up if you drive that distance. This is where a drive-time radius map comes in.

A drive-time radius map shows you the radial distance you can travel from your starting point within a certain amount of time. Within this radius, you can see specific features like accommodations and restaurants. Therefore, by using a drive-time radius map, you’ll not only see how far you can travel but also what you can expect to encounter at the end of your journey. Also, since it’s a radius, you can see what lies in different directions. If you want to know what destination options you have if you travel X amount of hours, it shows you this in a radius surrounding your starting point.

Additionally, many of these types of maps take into account road work and speed limits when calculating the radial distance that can be traveled within a certain amount of hours. As a result, you get a more accurate estimation of how far you can go.

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How To Access A Drive-Time Radius Map?

There are a number of programs that feature a drive-time radius map. We’ve listed a few here to get you started:

  • Maptive: This mapping software program is cloud-based and mobile responsive. It allows users to input location data manually or through a spreadsheet. Maptive uses Google Maps, so you benefit from features like Google Street View, Google Geographic Search, and Turn-by-Turn Navigation. In addition to a drive-time radius map, Maptive also offers heat maps, a multi-stop route planner and optimization tool, a lasso tool, a location finder tool, and a drawing tool.
  • Oalley: A web-based application, Oalley gives users the option to choose their mode of transportation. They look at several different criteria to determine the distance that can be achieved within a given amount of time. For instance, they look at speed limits, the type of road, public transport schedule, and availability of bicycle paths.
  • Radius: Distance From Me:  This IOS app uses the distance users want to travel rather than the amount of time they have to travel. It asks users how far they want to go and then creates a radius on a map to show them everything within that distance. Users can have the option of traditional, satellite, or hybrid map views.


To determine how far you can drive in a day, you should multiply the number of hours you intend to drive by the average speed you believe you’ll drive. However, you need to realize that different roads have different speed limits, so this equation won’t be 100% accurate. For a more accurate idea of how far you can travel, you can use a drive-time radius map. This map will show you the distance you’ll achieve if you drive a certain amount of hours. These maps usually consider varying speed limits, road work, and traffic conditions, so the distance is a bit more accurate. Additionally, they can show you what amenities there are in the area you’ll end up in, allowing you to find a place to sleep, eat, or even shop.

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