AARoads Forum

Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length

Author Topic: How far could you drive with absolutely no signs?  (Read 12212 times)

bzakharin

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 1545
  • Last Login: Today at 09:15:47 AM
Re: How far could you drive with absolutely no signs?
« Reply #25 on: January 12, 2016, 04:56:36 PM »

Even using "what road you are on, how to get from there to your destination, and have a sense of the last major town and the next major town" as the criteria, this criteria basically means I can't go anywhere. I guess it also depends on what a major town is. In my answer above, I'd only know what towns are nearby when I have to switch roads, so when I switch from 295 to 42 I'm near Gloucester Township, when I switch to the ACE I'm near Turnersville, when I switch from the ACE to the GSP I'm in Egg Harbor Township, but I have no idea what's in between without looking at exit signs (with the exception of Winslow where the left lane starts/ends).

With long trips on a single road, the best I can do is count exits, but that assumes I know how many there are in the first place (which is sort of true for the Turnpike south of the Eastern / Western spur split, and completely false for the Parkway), otherwise I only know where I am at the endpoints of the trip.
Logged

GaryV

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 945
  • Location: Southeast Michigan
  • Last Login: Today at 07:18:57 AM
Re: How far could you drive with absolutely no signs?
« Reply #26 on: January 12, 2016, 05:06:36 PM »

From SE Mich, I'm confident I could get to most of the popular tourist sites in the UP, well over 500 miles.

Going in other directions, I could get at least as far as Atlanta, probably all the way to Florida.  Toward the east, Washington DC or maybe Boston.  The problem would be how to find a destination once I got near the end.  How would I find the particular spot in Atlanta or Boston that was my destination?  Not sure about that.

Can we be non-guys and stop and ask for directions?
Logged

Thing 342

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 1240
  • Age: 22
  • Location: Newport News / McLean, VA
  • Last Login: October 15, 2019, 08:05:11 PM
    • Thing 342's Road Photos
Re: How far could you drive with absolutely no signs?
« Reply #27 on: January 12, 2016, 05:20:49 PM »

I have a good sense of direction and a decent photographic memory, so I'd probably be able to get around VA fairly well. I could do the HR/Atlanta, HR/Columbia, and HR/Blacksburg runs fairly easily.
Logged

pumpkineater2

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 281
  • Jamie O' Neal lied. It does exist.

  • Age: 21
  • Location: Flagstaff, Arizona
  • Last Login: June 26, 2019, 11:32:05 PM
Re: How far could you drive with absolutely no signs?
« Reply #28 on: January 12, 2016, 05:38:22 PM »

I'm certain that from my house in Phoenix, I could at least get to either San Diego, I-25's northern terminus, Oklahoma City, and San Antonio.
Logged
Come ride with me to the distant shore...

briantroutman

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 1951
  • Location: Philadelphia
  • Last Login: Today at 03:13:08 AM
    • briantroutman.com/land
Re: How far could you drive with absolutely no signs?
« Reply #29 on: January 12, 2016, 07:21:14 PM »

If I pick the wrong exit off of I-40 to get gas then I am completely screwed if I don't realize it soon enough.

That’s a valid point (along with food and lodging)—one that I hadn’t considered.

I was assuming a map with no route numbers shown...

Perhaps—although I don’t know how much help an unlabeled map would be outside of low-speed navigation on rural surface roads. On unfamiliar freeways, my instincts have sometimes been wrong when I ignored the sign and assumed that a lane would break to the north or south or whatever.

Edited to clarify: In other words, I don't construe "know exactly where you are" to mean "always be able to say you're X miles north of Y location, or you have Z miles to go to the destination," or the like.

“Precisely” was a poor word choice. I meant it more in the sense of knowing that you’re southbound on I-81 between Staunton and Roanoke. Knowing that you’ve passed Harrisburg and haven’t yet hit Knoxville wouldn’t be enough.


Can we be non-guys and stop and ask for directions?

Ehh...I don’t think so.
Logged

Quillz

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 2513
  • Age: 31
  • Location: Los Angeles, CA
  • Last Login: July 24, 2019, 12:25:24 PM
Re: How far could you drive with absolutely no signs?
« Reply #30 on: January 12, 2016, 07:36:39 PM »

I know how to get on every major interstate in California from my home, so I could theoretically get across the country. But once I enter any large city, I'd get lost if I was told to go find some specific address.
Logged
US Highways: 1 / 2 / 6 / 12 / 14 / 16 / 18 / 20 / 26 / 30 / 50 / 64 / 66 / 84 / 85 / 87 / 91 / 93 / 95 / 97 / 99 / 101 / 189 / 191 / 201 / 285 / 287 / 385 / 395
Interstate Highways: 5 / 10 / 15 / 17 / 25 / 40 / 45 / 70 / 80 / 84 / 89 / 90 / 93 / 95

Duke87

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 5270
  • Age: 31
  • Location: Queens, NY
  • Last Login: Today at 12:42:56 AM
Re: How far could you drive with absolutely no signs?
« Reply #31 on: January 12, 2016, 07:45:27 PM »

I'd say the answer varies a lot depending on where I'm going. I daresay I'd have problems navigating much of Queens without signs, since I'm not going to recognize which intersection is which based purely on landmarks for any street I'm not previously familiar with.

But I could easily find my way onto the highway without signs, and once on the highway I could easily navigate to any major city in the northeast without signs, although not necessarily by any route. For example I could get from NYC to Rochester without signs via NY 17/I-390, but if I'm on the Thruway I wouldn't recognize any of the three Rochester exits without signs.

If I'm following I-95, I can make it to Canada with no problem going north, going south... yeah, Jacksonville would probably trip me up too, but I could make it that far.


In terms of needing to get off the highway to get gas, true, finding a gas station without any signs (I'm assuming the station itself has no sign announcing its presence either) would be challenging, but not impossible - would merely require being careful and not waiting until near empty to attempt. If I start trying soon enough I could get off an exit, see if there's a gas station nearby, and if not just get back on and try again at the next exit. If I make the mistake of getting off at an incomplete interchange, I'd need to backtrack, but then I'd be able to figure out how to right myself no problem.

The question really becomes - is the navigating game over the instant you make a mistake, or does it not end until you make a mistake you don't recognize or can't figure out how to correct?

I could make it much farther under the latter rule than under the former, certainly.


I don't anticipate having problems figuring out how to properly get back on the highway once I get off, even if at an unfamiliar interchange, since it's merely a question of observing the geometry. If I make what is a net right turn getting off the highway (recognizing that taking a loop ramp and making a left is geometrically equivalent to taking a straight ramp and making a right), I know that I need to make a net right turn to get back on going the same way.

Logged
If you always take the same road, you will never see anything new.

doorknob60

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 723
  • Age: 25
  • Location: Boise, ID
  • Last Login: October 16, 2019, 06:05:38 PM
Re: How far could you drive with absolutely no signs?
« Reply #32 on: January 12, 2016, 09:40:29 PM »

From Nampa, I could for sure make it to Seattle and beyond to the Canadian Border. South, I could make it to San Fransisco, LA, San Diego and the Mexican border (I may get tripped up without signs if I tried to take US-95 through Nevada as I haven't driven it before, but I could for sure go I-80 to I-5). West, I could honestly make it almost anywhere in Oregon, I don't really need maps in that state.

Eastbound, I could easily find my way to I-80. How long I could make it there without getting tripped up, it's hard to say. At minimum, I could make it to Omaha, NE. Omaha, Des Moines, and the Quad Cities have some potentially confusing interstate junctions that would probably trip me up without signs or a map. If I could somehow figure those out and stay on I-80 though, I could make it to Chicago. Going on a natural straight path from there, I could make it all the way to Detroit. But that's assuming I don't get tripped up in Nebraska or Iowa. If it was daytime, I would be able to figure it out by continuing on an eastward trajectory using the sun and I could do it.

hbelkins

  • *
  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 13540
  • It is well, it is well, with my soul.

  • Age: 57
  • Location: Kentucky
  • Last Login: October 16, 2019, 02:41:48 PM
    • Millennium Highway
Re: How far could you drive with absolutely no signs?
« Reply #33 on: January 12, 2016, 09:42:50 PM »

Are we talking about pulling up the signs on roads with which we're already familiar?
Logged

1995hoo

  • *
  • Online Online

  • Posts: 10359
  • Age: 46
  • Location: Fairfax County, Virginia
  • Last Login: Today at 09:24:14 AM
Re: How far could you drive with absolutely no signs?
« Reply #34 on: January 12, 2016, 09:55:04 PM »

I know how to get on every major interstate in California from my home, so I could theoretically get across the country. But once I enter any large city, I'd get lost if I was told to go find some specific address.

This is why I cited relatives' houses in Florida. I've visited before and could thus find my way based on visual landmarks, even if that theoretically meant not necessarily using the most direct route in a few instances. That is to say, the OP said you can't use private signs or billboards to guide you, but he didn't say you can't use things like road features or things you can see from the road. So in the case of our relatives in Pembroke Pines, I would have a pretty easy time finding their house using such landmarks as the large interchanges in the Miami area (those would tell me when I needed to exit if I didn't already remember) and things like schools and lakes to tell me where to turn. In the case of our relatives in Fort Myers, if I were coming from the south, there's a big shopping mall visible from I-75 that'd tell me where to exit, and coming from the north if I missed the first exit I'd know the two-lane C/D road tells me to take the exit after that one.

So in theory it's not as difficult as it sounds if you're good with things like landmarks and such. I'm sure I'm like many of us here in that I can usually remember how to get somewhere once I've been there once or twice.

Then there are other places that should be easy to find by default. I'm sure I could very easily make my way to Key West without needing any directions because it's easy to find your way down the Turnpike and US-1, but once I got to Key West I'd have trouble finding a specific place because I've never been there. I guess this point sort of raises another question: In terms of "what's the farthest you can drive and still know precisely where you were," are we presuming there needs to be a specific destination like a house or a hotel or some such (can be anything....sports stadium, ski resort, golf course, whatever) at the other end, or are we using a city? I kind of presumed the idea was that you were to have a specific destination in mind, rather than something like a city, simply because a city can be such a big target (New York being a fine example).
Logged
"You know, you never have a guaranteed spot until you have a spot guaranteed."
—Olaf Kolzig, as quoted in the Washington Times on March 28, 2003,
commenting on the Capitals clinching a playoff spot.

"That sounded stupid, didn't it?"—Kolzig, to the same reporter a few seconds later.

NE2

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 13883
  • fuck

  • Age: 11
  • Location: central Florida
  • Last Login: October 16, 2019, 10:20:03 PM
Re: How far could you drive with absolutely no signs?
« Reply #35 on: January 13, 2016, 02:07:20 AM »

I could bike to my girlfriend's house. And that's all that matters. *gag*
Logged
Florida route log | pre-1945
I will do my best to not make America hate again.
Global warming denial is barely worse than white privilege denial.

jeffandnicole

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 10192
  • Age: 44
  • Location: South Jersey
  • Last Login: Today at 09:09:38 AM
Re: How far could you drive with absolutely no signs?
« Reply #36 on: January 13, 2016, 09:16:36 AM »

...when I switch from 295 to 42 I'm near Gloucester Township, when I switch to the ACE I'm near Turnersville...

The ironic part about this is when you switch to the ACE you're in Gloucester Township!  Actually, the town line between that and Turnersville is right at the interchange.

295 to 42...you're really closer to Bellmawr or Deptford.


“Precisely” was a poor word choice. I meant it more in the sense of knowing that you’re southbound on I-81 between Staunton and Roanoke. Knowing that you’ve passed Harrisburg and haven’t yet hit Knoxville wouldn’t be enough.


Yeah, there's a huge difference between "Precisely" and "You're somewhere in a 500 mile range between 2 cities".
Logged

Katavia

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 173
  • Touhou. Emergency alerts. Highways.

  • Age: 16
  • Location: Kannapolis, NC
  • Last Login: May 12, 2019, 12:46:27 AM
Re: How far could you drive with absolutely no signs?
« Reply #37 on: January 13, 2016, 02:58:28 PM »

I for one, could get around most of the roads surrounding my town well (I have these "routes" in my head as route 13, 22, 36, 72, etc) plus Statesville to Albemarle.
Logged
I should be here more often.

english si

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 3535
  • Age: 33
  • Location: Buckinghamshire, England
  • Last Login: October 15, 2019, 01:00:58 PM
Re: How far could you drive with absolutely no signs?
« Reply #38 on: January 13, 2016, 03:37:11 PM »

I could navigate to John o'Groats without signs, I reckon (get on M40, which is easy, stay on it to south of Birmingham then fork off onto the M5 North (I'd recognise the junction), stay on the road until you can see the Erskine Bridge getting near, turn off, go over bridge, turn left, turn right at the A83, which I'd recognise the junction for, turn right at Tyndrum, where I'd recognise the Green Welly shop, stay on the road until a big roundabout north of Inverness, turn left, 3rd exit at Tore Roundabout, keep going until the road runs out).

And heading the other way, Strasbourg is very easy (get onto the French A26 and don't turn off until you are in an urban area).
Logged

PHLBOS

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 6763
  • Age: 53
  • Location: Greater Philly, PA
  • Last Login: Today at 08:32:30 AM
Re: How far could you drive with absolutely no signs?
« Reply #39 on: January 13, 2016, 05:38:28 PM »

I could probably cover a sizable chunk of the North Shore/Greater Boston area of eastern MA without too much trouble; mainly because I grew up in that area.

Where I'm currently at (southeastern PA/Greater Philadelphia); I can probably do most of Philadelphia & Delaware Counties.
Logged
GPS does NOT equal GOD

Roadgeek2500

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 94
  • Age: 19
  • Location: Philadelphia, PA.
  • Last Login: October 16, 2019, 10:20:37 PM
Re: How far could you drive with absolutely no signs?
« Reply #40 on: January 13, 2016, 07:18:55 PM »

I believe I've got a pretty damn good sense of direction. I could easily get through Delaware & Chester county without question. And, I could do the drive from Philadelphia to Cape May with my eyes closed.

NE2

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 13883
  • fuck

  • Age: 11
  • Location: central Florida
  • Last Login: October 16, 2019, 10:20:03 PM
Re: How far could you drive with absolutely no signs?
« Reply #41 on: January 13, 2016, 07:35:46 PM »

I could do the drive from Philadelphia to Cape May with my eyes closed.
Please don't.
Logged
Florida route log | pre-1945
I will do my best to not make America hate again.
Global warming denial is barely worse than white privilege denial.

jwolfer

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 2037
  • Age: 49
  • Location: Jacksonville, FL
  • Last Login: Today at 08:10:54 AM
Re: How far could you drive with absolutely no signs?
« Reply #42 on: January 13, 2016, 09:05:26 PM »

My brother was stationed in Gulfport, Mississippi when Katrina hit.. No signs, few traffic lights and lots of landmarks damaged, not to mention streetlights out at night... He said is was not easy finding his way around
Logged

formulanone

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 7113
  • Business with pleasure?

  • Age: 45
  • Location: HSV, and then some
  • Last Login: Today at 08:48:43 AM
Re: How far could you drive with absolutely no signs?
« Reply #43 on: January 14, 2016, 01:51:55 AM »

During daylight hours, I think I could get 20-50 miles away though familiar routes without needing signage. If it was unfamillar, I'd fail the final-mile stuff. I could probably rock the southern half of of Florida on its major roads without signs or maps, but I'm also prone to error.

My brother was stationed in Gulfport, Mississippi when Katrina hit.. No signs, few traffic lights and lots of landmarks damaged, not to mention streetlights out at night... He said is was not easy finding his way around

Ah, I think we talk a big game here with our intuition and knowledge, but night-time driving without visible landmarks, sans signage, is a totally different experience. Rural areas and suburban grids would be a lot more difficult at night! But larger cities, with taller buildings, and more recognizable skyline, additional street lighting, and other fanfare would be quite doable...it's probably easier to recognize landmarks rather than signage, which might be relatively small or unnoticeable.

After Hurricane Wilma messed things up to a lesser degree in South Florida, where roughly half the signs disappeared, all the street lights were out, and no traffic lights functioned...it was difficult to drive in very familiar territory. You are supposed to stop at each intersection, which puts you a bit off guard, since the striping doesn't really tell you in advance about how far a distance the white stop lines are from your braking point. It was also dangerous...people ran though intersections because they either weren't paying attention, or they weren't precisely familiar with the locale. You couldn't really trust the other cars on the road, and for the first few days, you were dodging debris (since nature trimmed the trees).
« Last Edit: January 14, 2016, 01:54:58 AM by formulanone »
Logged

briantroutman

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 1951
  • Location: Philadelphia
  • Last Login: Today at 03:13:08 AM
    • briantroutman.com/land
Re: How far could you drive with absolutely no signs?
« Reply #44 on: January 14, 2016, 03:32:18 PM »

I think covering a long distance with absolutely no signs might be a lot more challenging than a lot of the responses assume. At least a couple said something like “once I get on an Interstate, I can go anywhere”. Personally, I’ve logged hundreds of thousands of miles across the country, and I wouldn’t make that claim.

If maps are prohibited, I’d at least need an unmarked map with a mileage scale, and I’d also need to keep watching the odometer like a hawk. At some point, much of the rural interstate system becomes repetitive: rolling hills, rolling hills, ramp. (Ramp to what? I’m not sure) Or in other parts of the country: prairie, prairie, ramp (or whatever). If you’re left to simply observing your surroundings, I think much of the journey would eventually blur together.

The question really becomes - is the navigating game over the instant you make a mistake, or does it not end until you make a mistake you don't recognize or can't figure out how to correct?

Even in areas with which I’m quite familiar, I think I’d often end up realizing “that’s my exit!” just as I pass the gore. So the trial-and-error approach is probably the only way I could get very far. Though I’ve made the 80-80 bump in Youngstown perhaps a hundred times, for example, I could easily imagine missing it and needing to double back. The only areas in which I could truly drive reflexively and with absolute confidence are places where I’ve lived and driven for many years on routes I’ve covered (literally) many hundreds or thousands of times.
Logged

CNGL-Leudimin

  • *
  • Online Online

  • Posts: 2544
  • When in doubt, US 41

  • Age: 26
  • Location: Across the pond
  • Last Login: Today at 09:30:57 AM
Re: How far could you drive with absolutely no signs?
« Reply #45 on: January 14, 2016, 05:22:06 PM »

Definitely I could drive 'blindly' all the way to Madrid (the original one, not the ones in NY and IA), Barcelona, and to near Valencia (I would likely get lost at that complex North of the later).
Logged
"Football", a quite ambiguous word for me. I assume "association" football instead of "American" football.

All times Eastern unless otherwise noted.

Rothman

  • *
  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 5037
  • Last Login: Today at 07:04:34 AM
Re: How far could you drive with absolutely no signs?
« Reply #46 on: January 15, 2016, 08:14:15 AM »

I think covering a long distance with absolutely no signs might be a lot more challenging than a lot of the responses assume. At least a couple said something like “once I get on an Interstate, I can go anywhere”. Personally, I’ve logged hundreds of thousands of miles across the country, and I wouldn’t make that claim.

If maps are prohibited, I’d at least need an unmarked map with a mileage scale, and I’d also need to keep watching the odometer like a hawk. At some point, much of the rural interstate system becomes repetitive: rolling hills, rolling hills, ramp. (Ramp to what? I’m not sure) Or in other parts of the country: prairie, prairie, ramp (or whatever). If you’re left to simply observing your surroundings, I think much of the journey would eventually blur together.

The question really becomes - is the navigating game over the instant you make a mistake, or does it not end until you make a mistake you don't recognize or can't figure out how to correct?

Even in areas with which I’m quite familiar, I think I’d often end up realizing “that’s my exit!” just as I pass the gore. So the trial-and-error approach is probably the only way I could get very far. Though I’ve made the 80-80 bump in Youngstown perhaps a hundred times, for example, I could easily imagine missing it and needing to double back. The only areas in which I could truly drive reflexively and with absolute confidence are places where I’ve lived and driven for many years on routes I’ve covered (literally) many hundreds or thousands of times.

Although I rarely do the "OMG! There's my exit"-at-the-gore-thing, I'm glad you brought up the former, because that's exactly what I was thinking:  You'd have to watch the odometer constantly. 

For those of us who clinch counties, I know that I've had that experience where I've had to take a route on some real back roads where signage is spotty.  In order to really turn left or right where the directions say you have to, you watch that odometer, since turning on the wrong road a half-mile too early, for example, gets you off track in very short order.
Logged
Please note: All comments here represent my own personal opinion and do not reflect the official position(s) of NYSDOT.

jfs1988

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 92
  • Location: San Bernardino
  • Last Login: November 13, 2017, 04:47:25 PM
Re: How far could you drive with absolutely no signs?
« Reply #47 on: January 30, 2016, 05:23:53 PM »

California to New Mexico (& probably west Texas).

I could do it by the landscape.

California (Joshua Trees)
Colorado River
western & central Arizona (Saguaro Cactus) (Extremely Hot)
Texas Canyon
eastern Arizona, southern New Mexico, west Texas (shrubs, yuccas, grasslands) (cooler temperature than previous desert)
Logged

odditude

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 503
  • Location: NOVA
  • Last Login: October 16, 2019, 07:30:54 PM
Re: How far could you drive with absolutely no signs?
« Reply #48 on: January 30, 2016, 06:31:27 PM »

i could go from Trenton, NJ to Knoxville, TN. the toughest part for me would be getting off of the Capitol Beltway on to I-66.

coming *back* would be far more difficult, though.
Logged

wxfree

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 1093
  • Age: -1
  • Location: Over there
  • Last Login: October 10, 2019, 02:37:06 PM
Re: How far could you drive with absolutely no signs?
« Reply #49 on: January 30, 2016, 09:35:51 PM »

I have a pretty good map of southwest Texas in my mind.  In terms of complexity, I could find quite a few ways to get to the Big Bend without needing any signs.  I know the area well enough that I can come up with different routes in my mind, and the roads are simple enough that some of those routes would be easy to find without signs.  I have a route from home to my gateway point to far west Texas, with 23 turns, that I could drive without signs.  In terms of distance I could get from here (DFW area) to El Paso easily.  The Interstates have two lanes in each direction the whole way.  In El Paso, I don't know which lanes of I-10 go where well enough to be sure of where I'd end up from there.
Logged
All of my posts represent my personal opinions and the official views of any governmental agency that has good sense.

 


Opinions expressed here on belong solely to the poster and do not represent or reflect the opinions or beliefs of AARoads, its creators and/or associates.