It’s common knowledge. To drive faster than everyone else, you just need to put the foot down, a little pedal to the metal action, turn and burn if you will. Only if it were that simple. Perhaps on a drag strip it is that simple. But in the real world, driving long distances, you need a plan in order to make it to your destination ahead of time.
Here are 5 of my favorite tips for driving fast:
You know, as in don’t stop until you arrive at your destination. The longer you can drive 85 MPH, the quicker you’ll be there. The math is pretty simple:
Every minute you drive 85 MPH, you cover 1.4 miles. Every minute you’re not driving 85 MPH, you’re behind 1.4 miles.
So this leads to my first tip
Tip #1 – Plan every pit stop
If you can do the trip on one tank and without a bathroom break, do it. If you have a long ways to go and a short time to get there, then plan your breaks ahead of time. Let’s use a hypothetical trip through the state of California. From my home in San Digeo to my relatives in Mt. Shasta (almost Oregon) it is about 700 miles. Fully fueled my Chrysler 300S can travel 400-450 miles on a tank. That means I only need to stop once for fuel. We know going exactly the speed limit for 700 miles will take about 10 hours. I don’t know about you, but I can’t hold it 10 hours before the RedBull has run its course and demands attention. So I plan my pit stops accordingly.
Pit Stop 1 – 2:30 to 3:00 hours into the trip, preferable a public rest stop, feet from the freeway and very fast in and out access.
Pit Stop 2 – 5:00 to 6:00 hours into the trip. Now this stop should ideally overlap with refueling. Again, pick a large fuel station directly off an exit ramp with the quickest in and out access. But Josh… “the gas at the station .5 miles down the road is $.25 cheaper a gallon.” Fuck that gas, your time is worth more than the $3.50 you’d save.
Pit Stop 3 – 7:00 to 8:00 hours into the trip. This is a duplicate of pit stop 1.
But, I don’t know if my kids can hold it that long… Well, I hope they enjoy chloroform.
Now you’ve cut the time down to the minimum of pit stops required to travel a long distance. Planing when/where to stop based on the amount of time you’ll be stopped is the single most important factor in driving fast. Now of course you could add a second fuel tank to your car and use the old fashioned “trucker bomb” method, but I’m not in a hurry to drive a fuel truck and hate piss on my leather seats, ANTHONY!
Pro tip: worried about having to go #2 while on the road? A handful of Imodium AD will fix that. Next?
Tip #2 – Speed, but not enough to get pulled over
Again, back to the math above. In order to arrive at your destination in a highly expeditious manner you don’t need to drive 150MPH. Well, I mean if you can… and not get thrown in jail for a couple months. Then do it. But the goal here is to arrive fast at all costs. That means you actually have to drive reasonably over the speed limit.
Here’s a break down of the various break times and speeds you travel and how it affects your drive time.
What you’ll notice pretty quick is how effective quick stops are for your timing. You might say that 80 MPH is only 10 over and that wont get you pulled over. Yes, that might be true but those are the average speeds. That means to average 80 MPH you’ll probably have to do 90 during stretches after being stuck behind a slow moving truck. The longer you drive at the top end of the range to maintain your speed the more likely you wont be getting off with a warning. Plus, spotting 5-0 and tapping the breaks from 80-70 is going to happen very quick, making it more likely they won’t pull you over or have a good read on your speed.
On the other hand, trying to tap the breaks at 90 MPH will likely just mean not only are you going to get pulled over but you’ll also be getting a ticket for 10-15 over. Ouch, there went your time and new MPH average you have to achieve to arrive at your target time. The lesson here is to speed, but make sure you’re maximizing all of the other factors you can control such as rest and fuel stops. Once you’ve exhausted the amount of time that you’re stationary the only other place to improve is speed. But don’t cut corners just because you can drive fast. Make it the secondary tactic. Save yourself time and beer money.
Tip #3 – Pack a lunch and all other snacks
Stop for lunch? What are you, a government worker? You don’t get paid for that shit.
Seriously, Aron Ralston survived 127 hours in the desert with his arm pinned by a rock on a couple of granola bars and 1 liter of water. I think you can make it 10 hours in a comfy leather chair that both heats and cools itself. Oh and you also have perfectly tailored heating and air-conditioning at your beckon call. Aron had a rope to sit on… think about it.
There shouldn’t be a need to stop for anything other than a quick pee (see above reasons) or fuel. Everything else you could have packed and planned ahead of time. God invented chilled champaign holders for a reason. Make your sandwiches, pack your beverages in a little cooler and hit the road. Or if you really need help just call mom, she would love to cut the crusts off your PB&J for you.
Tip #4 – Leave when you can beat traffic
Driving fast is all about commitment. The goal is to get to your destination before the ice cream cake from Dairy Queen you just bought melts. I don’t care if that’s 5 miles or 500. You do what it takes.
Outside of Cairo, Egypt and Chicago, Los Angeles has some of the worst traffic known to man. Do you know what time I leave San Diego to get through that cesspool of self-indulged drivers? 4AM!
Again, this isn’t about sightseeing some national monument, it’s about getting there on time. That means avoiding trouble areas with rush hour traffic.
Tip #5 – Fuel, Oil, Tires and Maintenance
Breaking down slows you down. Do a proper vehicle check to avoid preventable breakdowns. Run out of fuel? You’re a moron. Oil coursing through your engine like molasses on a cold day? You’re an idiot. Tires wore flat? Enjoy getting raked over the coal at Billy Bob’s “Discount Auto” in Bakersfield. If you break down from anything that is preventable with proper maintenance, enjoy the bush league, rookie. Just keep telling yourself you’ll make it one day… remember, if you’re not first you’re last, Ricky Bobby.