Best Day of the Week to Travel By Car (or RV)

 Best Day of the Week to Travel By Car (or RV)

What's the best day of the week to travel by car (or RV)? Here's the answer!

Is it time to set out on the great American road trip? Driving in the United States is almost like a rite of passage for some people. It is a great way to see different locations, from rural countryside to big cities.

You also encounter negative things, like traffic.

It does not matter what you drive: your own car, a rental car, giant RV, small RV, or camper van. You do not want to find yourself in poor driving conditions.

That is why I put together the following guide about the best day of the week to travel by car. It'll tell you the best days and times to travel so that you can avoid gridlock and the headaches that come along with it. It can also help you avoid an accident, especially if this will be your first time taking a road trip.

Factors That Affect the Best Day to Drive

There are many factors that can impact the best day of the week to travel by car (or RV). Traffic and accident information is important, but we need to factor things like campground availability, too.

In addition, I have taken into consideration the best times to access gas stations, grocery stores, and hardware stores.

One great traffic and accident resource I pulled information from is the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

The Best Day of the Week to Travel by Car (or RV)

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Best DAY to travel?

According to the statistics, the best day of the week to travel by car (or RV) is Wednesday. Tuesday is your second best choice.

When asking RVers when they like to travel, most cited Tuesday as the best day to drive. Monday was their second favorite day (probably because it's the first day after a weekend stay).

No matter if you travel on Tuesday or Wednesday, there are some advantages. The traffic tends to be lighter in and around big cities on those days of the week.

Another reason is that there will be more availability at first-come, first-served campgrounds. Most crowds come nearer the weekend. You can be settled in and exploring the area before many of the other travelers arrive.

Another reason those days make great driving days are that most service shops and other stores are open midweek. If you have an emergency, it will be easier to get help. Or, if you need to pick up any forgotten items, you will be able to do so.

Worst Day of the Week to Travel by Car (or RV)

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Is this what you see on Saturdays?

According to the IIHS website, most fatal vehicle collisions occur on Saturday. The second most deadly day of the week is Friday, followed closely by Sunday.

Overall, the statistics show weekend driving is more dangerous than driving during the week. That is likely because more people are on the road during non-rush hour times.

They may also be embarking on long drives, or taking a scenic route, to travel somewhere. A long trip includes more gas stops or visits to historic sites. All of which can lead to higher fatigue levels.

Furthermore, weekends' evenings tend to be more dangerous due to the increase of impaired drivers on the road. There are more people that drive drunk or under the influence of drugs than on weekdays. It is always a good idea to be a particularly defensive driver when traveling on weekend evenings!

On the weekends, people may have additional distractions, like children. Especially if they are driving the family to popular destinations. Family outings can cause longer stops, and overall longer days on the road, adding to parental fatigue.

When asked, RV owners tend to claim Sunday as the worst driving day. That is because the increased traffic can be nightmarish.

In addition, many businesses are closed on Sundays. Mechanic shops and stores tend to be closed those days, especially in small towns. An urgent matter on the open road may not be able to get addressed until Monday.

If traveling midweek is not possible for you, a great option may be to try and extend your weekend by a day. Traveling on Thursday or Monday can make for a safer and freer drive. If you are tied to travel on the weekends, a very good time to leave is in the early morning hours.

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Best Times of the Day to Travel by Car (or RV)

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Travel in the morning if going west!

It is usually a good option to leave in the morning if possible. Any time between dawn and 10:00 am tends to be the most popular choices.

Consider where you are leaving from. If you must travel through a big city, think about what time of day you need to get around big city traffic.

For example, when driving north from San Diego, you do not want to arrive in the Los Angles area during rush hour traffic.

Something else to consider is the direction that you will be driving. Heading west provides you with a good reason to leave in the morning, That way you will not have the sun in your eyes!

When driving east, afternoon driving is one of the best things you can do to avoid the sun.

Worst Times of Day to Travel by Car (or RV)

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Driving at night.

Overall, the worst time of day to travel is when it is dark outside. That includes both morning and night hours that do not have sunlight. Darkness comes with more impaired and fatigued drivers and colder temps that can worsen road conditions.

In addition, you want to consider when you will be hitting a big city. That way you can plan to avoid hitting their morning or evening rush hour traffic times.

Other Things to Consider

Now that you know the best day of the week to travel by car, here are some more things to consider.

Travel Insurance

While travel insurance might be an extra cost, it can cover you well in case of an emergency. Or, if you have to cancel some part of your trip due to extenuating circumstances.

RV GPS Apps

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You can learn more about this tool at RVTRIPWIZARD

RV Life App and RV Trip Wizard can provide you with safe turn-by-turn routing that can help with trip planning. Get the best routes, especially if this is your first RV road trip!

Here are some other helpful apps to help you avoid traffic jams.

RV Lifestyle eBooks and Guides

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We've written a library of RV Travel books that lay out seven-day guided explorations of scenic areas of the US that we'’ve explored and think would make an excellent RV trip for you.

In each location, we provide a suggested route and itinerary (7 stops in each guide, one for each day of a week trip!) as well as links to multiple campgrounds and boondocking spots, local tips, and interesting things to do at each location.

You can hit everything in seven days, do a whirlwind weekend tour, or you can take your time and explore the area over a 2+ week period.

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Mike Wendland

Mike Wendland is a veteran journalist who, with his wife, Jennifer, travels North America in a small motorhome, blogging about the people, places, joys and adventure of RV life on the road at RVLifestyle.com. He and Jennifer also host the weekly RV Podcast and do twice-weekly videos on the YouTube RV Lifestyle Channel. They have written 10 books on RV travel.

2 Comments

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  • I agree with most of the points made in the article. One other consideration, we have found, is construction. One positive point about is week-end is that most construction zones are not active on the week-end. We have found less delays due to construction driving on Sunday. It may not be enough to overcome the negatives of week-end travel but it is something to consider.

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