Five miles is a pretty quick trip. It’s even walkable for most able-bodied people.
But, as short as the distance may be, how long it takes to drive 5 miles is still highly dependent on the roads you’re taking.
Driving five miles down the interstate is considerably faster than driving five miles on the streets of a town.
So, just how long does it take to drive 5 miles?
Let’s get into it.
How long does it take to drive 5 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 just over 4 minutes to drive 5 miles.
- At 75 mph, it takes 4 minutes to drive 5 miles.
How long does it take to drive 5 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 5 ½ minutes to drive 5 miles.
- At 65 mph, it takes just under 5 minutes to drive 5 miles.
How long does it take to drive 5 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 5 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 8 ½ minutes to drive 5 miles.
- At 45 mph, it takes nearly 7 minutes to drive 5 miles.
But when have you ever driven through a city or town without hitting a single red light or stop sign?
So, you can assume any drive through a city is going to take several minutes longer.
And if you happen to be circling five miles right through a city center at 25 mph (without stops), the drive will take you around 12 minutes.
How Long It Takes To Drive 5 Miles Is A Crapshoot
As illustrated, how long it takes to drive 5 miles greatly depends on where you’re passing those five miles.
Five miles on the interstate almost always takes less than five minutes.
Fives miles through a city might take 20 minutes, depending on how many intersections you hit.
So, the answer as to how long it takes to drive 5 miles is that it really depends.
Drive time depends on speed, traffic, and conditions.
But, for your reference, here’s a chart that shows how long it takes to drive 5 miles at common speed limits under traffic- and stoplight-free conditions.