You have monitored your car, and it’s in good condition, your bags are readily packed, and you have your favorite snacks for the road trip.
You have even created a music playlist for your road trip.
But, Should You Start a Road Trip at Night or In the Morning?
Starting your trip in the early morning hours enables you to beat the rush hour traffic. After a good night’s sleep, your energy and senses will be ideal for the long drive.
But beginning your road trip early and bright is not a fast and hard rule.
Six Road Trip Start Time Considerations
1. Time To Avoid Traffic
When deciding the best time to start a road trip, you should consider when there is no traffic.
You might not have to worry about high traffic if you won’t be traveling through a major city.
If you know your destination, you can consider using Waze or Google Maps to help plan your route.
The apps will help direct you on the fastest route, and you can adjust your starting times to avoid traffic.
2. What The Weather Will Be Like
You will need to consider the weather conditions along your road trip route.
If it’s during the winter, ice or snow can have a significant impact on how safe it is to begin your trip.
If you check the weather of the route you are planning to take and see that the weather will be adverse in the forecast, you should adjust your departure time accordingly, so you hopefully avoid the bad weather.
You can also consider postponing the road trip until weather conditions improve if there are chances of hazardous road conditions.
You can use road trip weather apps to see the forecasted weather along your route.
3. Where You Are Going and Desired Arrival Time
One of the easiest ways of planning the best time to begin a long drive is deciding the time you are looking to arrive at the destination.
For instance, if you want to get to your destination during dinnertime and have an eight-hour road trip, you can easily calculate the best time to start your road trip.
And when doing the calculations, remember to add additional time for food, gas, and other potential breaks along the road trip.
4. Holiday Periods
Usually, the start or end of a holiday comes with more traffic on the road.
To avoid getting held by holiday traffic, plan to depart before or after the holiday when most people are back at work.
5. Facilities On Your Trip Route
If you are taking a long-distance drive, you will require bathroom breaks and fill up the gas tank.
When these facilities are open can hence affect your decision on the best time to start your road trip.
6. Who Are You Traveling With?
You will also need to consider the convenient time for your family members or traveling colleagues.
For instance, you may be forced to begin your drive after the end of the working hours or when school finishes if you need to pick up your children.
Also, traveling with your kids means you may want to ensure they have a good night’s sleep before you set out for the trip.
Otherwise, you may beat the rush hour, setting off early in the morning, but you will have tired kids that can affect your journey in multiple ways.
Keep in mind that kids, particularly babies, will affect how fast you progress on your way. When you have kids on your way, you will need to stop more regularly.
Driving During the Day Versus Driving at Night
Now that you know the factors to consider when deciding whether to start a road trip at night or in the morning, let’s look at the pros and cons of each option.
Pros And Cons of Leaving in The Morning
Most people and websites recommend leaving in the early morning, and there are several reasons for this.
1. Avoid Rush Hour Traffic
The main pros are that you will be ahead of the rush hour before the traffic accumulates.
2. Well Rested
Another benefit of starting your road trip in the morning is that you will be well-rested, have better visibility, and have a high chance of staying awake.
More so, you will have a whole day to do your driving, particularly for a long road trip. This is even more beneficial if you don’t want to drive at night, which poses more danger.
However, leaving in the morning has pros, like more roadside distractions. If you don’t usually wake up early in the morning, this might be challenging for you.
Also, morning hours might not work if you have kids who need to attend school on that day. You might also be forced to pack up the evening before.
2. Pros And Cons of Leaving at Night
While most people don’t recommend starting a road trip at night, it also has benefits.
- less traffic
- better fuel efficiency
- fewer road distractions
- and kids are likely to sleep.
However, driving at night also has multiple cons, as you would guess. Some cons of starting your road trip at night include
- low visibility, particularly on routes with poor lighting,
- most of the facilities being closed
- drivers are more likely to get fatigued and doze off
- and the glare on the windshield from other drivers.
Night hours also feature more careless and drunk drivers, which increases the chances of accidents and more nocturnal animals crossing the road.
That’s it! We hope we have answered your question about the best time to start a road trip, which is whatever works for you.
However, always remember to consider safety.
Ultimately, this time will often be in the early morning when you feel best, and traffic is low. You should avoid nighttime driving as much as possible.