Twenty miles isn’t that far.
It’s fewer miles than a marathon, and considerably easier to travel from the comfort of a vehicle.
But it’s also not that short of a distance, not if you’re driving it all on back roads.
So, just how long does it take to drive 20 miles?
It greatly depends on whether you’re hopping on the interstate or a major highway or making your way across town on city streets.
How long does it take to drive 20 miles on U.S. interstates?
Speed limits on U.S. interstates range between 55 and 85 mph, with 55 mph being the speed limit in metro areas in many states and 85 mph being the outlier in Texas.
Most sections of the country’s interstates have speed limits between 70 and 75 mph.
- At 70 mph, it takes 17 minutes to drive 20 miles.
- At 75 mph, it takes 16 minutes to drive 20 miles.
How long does it take to drive 20 miles on U.S. highways?
Highways in the U.S. are a bit different than interstates.
They have more accessibility and more crossroads.
Due to this, they also have lower speed limits – 55 to 70 mph being typical (though, there are a few states with highway speeds up to 75 mph).
Highway speed limits may also vary within states, depending on how accessible the highway is.
Highways with limited access (those accessed by ramps or with few intersecting roads) typically have higher speed limits than those with multiple crossroads.
Highways with many crossroads and access to businesses and residences typically have lower speed limits.
This isn’t true of every state, but most states do follow this pattern.
On average, 55 or 65 mph is what you can expect to find on more accessible highways across the country.
- At 55 mph, it takes 22 minutes to drive 20 miles.
- At 65 mph, it takes 18 ½ minutes to drive 20 miles.
How long does it take to drive 20 miles through cities and towns?
Cities and towns in the U.S. have drastically different speed limits, not just dependent on state and municipality, but also on where you are in the city.
The interconnected streets of downtown might have speed limits as low as 15 or 20 mph, while larger thoroughfares outside the central business district, even those heavily-trafficked, may boast speed limits up to 55 mph.
That’s quite a wide range of speeds you might go through when driving 20 miles across a city. (Not to mention the stoplights and stop signs!)
Generally speaking, though, outside of city centers, speed limits are between 35 and 45 mph, so we’ll use those as our default numbers.
- At 35 mph, it takes 34 minutes to drive 20 miles.
- At 45 mph, it takes 27 minutes to drive 20 miles.
How Long It Takes To Drive 20 Miles Varies
As illustrated, how long it takes to drive 20 miles is highly dependent on where you’re doing your driving and the speed limits you encounter along the way.
Twenty miles on the interstate is a quick trip. (Assuming you don’t encounter too much traffic or construction along the way).
Twenty miles through a city can be a slow journey, even without stops.
So, the answer as to how long it takes to drive 20 miles is that there is no real answer.
Drive time depends on speed, traffic, and conditions.
But, for your reference, here’s a chart that shows how long it takes to drive 20 miles at common speed limits under non-stop conditions.