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Is it safe for two girls driving from Austin to Santa Fe, NM

Austin, Texas
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Is it safe for two girls driving from Austin to Santa Fe, NM

Hey All,

I'm planing to drive to Santa Fe with one of my girlfriends at the end of May for a short trip (4-5 days) We both are very excited, we planned it as a two girls trip. However she asked around and a guy friend told her that it's not safe for two girls to drive that 11 hrs roadtrip since majority of the time you will be driving in the middle of nowhere, once you left Texas and enter New Mexico, it's even hard to find a gas station along the way so you would have to plan on where to stop to get gas, secondly you may encounter danger on the way because of some shady area and people(really?) and there will be a checkpoint on the road? So she now wants to have two more guys join us(her friends but totally strangers to me)

I'd prefer just two of us hit road but she is really concerned if it's a good idea to just go there by ourselves.

Any opinions to share? Thank you!

Aubrey, Texas
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1. Re: Is it safe for two girls driving from Austin to Santa Fe, NM

First of all, it will be more like 12-13 hours driving time. With breaks it will be more, so you need to plan on an overnight stop. Lubbock or Carlsbad, depending upon your route, would be about right. Each has good hotel choices. Next, the roads you will be on are not isolated. You won't be out there totally alone. Gas stations are plentiful. You won't go more than 50 miles without seeing one.

Take the usual precautions of traveling during daylight hours, take breaks in towns, top the gas tank up before it gets too low. And if you don't know how to change a flat tire, learn. It isn't very hard if you know how to do it. Even if you have AAA, it's good to be self reliant.

Austin, Texas
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2. Re: Is it safe for two girls driving from Austin to Santa Fe, NM

Thanks a lot for your reply texhills, I checked the map today and most likely we will take the route that take us through Lubbock which the major highways that we are going to drive will be US 84 and 285. Our plan is to take off in Thursday night around 6pm, drive about 6 hrs to get to Lubbock and stay overnight there, get up at 8 am the next morning then drive to Santa Fe.

I'll try to talk my girlfriend into this since she is now so freaked about her guy friend's comment =/

Uden, The...
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3. Re: Is it safe for two girls driving from Austin to Santa Fe, NM

As Texhills said, no need to worry. You'be fine. Can't remember a check point on that stretch. Starting 6pm you won't be at your hotel before 1am imo so that's pretty late. There's a good Best Western on the way in the tiny village of Post before Lubock right along the highway. Maybe worth to check that one out.

Tet

Austin, Texas
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4. Re: Is it safe for two girls driving from Austin to Santa Fe, NM

I agree with all of the above, but will add caution about driving any part of that route late at night. My husband and I drove straight through from Santa Fe back to Austin last May and it is not a drive I would do again without an overnight somewhere. We left Santa Fe at about 7:30am and got back to our house a little after 9pm. We had snacks in the car, stopped to eat once and stopped for gas and restroom breaks. It was a very long day and we were both very tired. As noted above, the route is safe and there are plenty of places to stop for gas, but once the sun goes down it will be very very dark as you drive between cities and towns and there will be fewer people traveling. Gas stations may close early in some of the smaller towns. If you are already tired, after working or whatever on Thursday, driving that far late into the night may not be such a good idea.

Dallas
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5. Re: Is it safe for two girls driving from Austin to Santa Fe, NM

You could also start your trip by heading across on 290 to I-10, stopping overnight in Fort Stockton. That would put you on the interstate highway for your night time driving. The next day, you could either cut up through Carlsbad & Roswell or over to El Paso and up to Albuquerque if you wanted to stay on a major highway.

Aubrey, Texas
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6. Re: Is it safe for two girls driving from Austin to Santa Fe, NM

My experience in leaving on a trip after work is that one always hits the road later than planned. What MrTed said about fewer people on the road at night is correct, even on the major highways. I suggest you be less ambitious about distance on the first day and go no further than Abilene before stopping for the night. You shouldn't have to worry about gas and you'll be ready to call it a day. There are several good chain hotels on or near the highway which loops around the west side of Abilene. On day 2 you'll be fresh for the long drive to SFe.

Uden, The...
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7. Re: Is it safe for two girls driving from Austin to Santa Fe, NM

Abilene is a good idea. Fort Stockton can be a bit creepy in the dark imo.

Grapevine, Texas
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8. Re: Is it safe for two girls driving from Austin to Santa Fe, NM

Off-topic a bit from the safety perspective - I think it would be a bad Idea to include 2 strangers - male or female - in *your* good-time-road-trip with your friend. I'm apprehensive they may commandeer your itinerary with theirs and your friend might concede, leaving you as "odd man out". Generally, that often happens in that type of situation.

As to traveling - keep driving to primarily day-light hours and as was mentioned above, it wouldn't hurt to learn how to change a tire - at the very least, know how to check air pressure, find out what it should be for your tires and check them each time you gas up along the way. Before heading out, have a mechanic or knowledgable friend, give your car a "check-up" - oil/fluid levels, etc. If you don't know already, have them teach you how to check the oil. Hoping you don't need it, definitely secure some type of road side assistance before leaving, but understand, it might take an hour or more for them to respond. (All the more reason to keep night driving to a minimum). Try not to let your gas tank fall below 1/2 tank, 1/4 at the emptiest. When you make a stop, take 5 minutes and just walk around - clear your head and do a few stretches. Above all, keep your sensibilities in check. Don't be rude, but don't be your friendliest either.

Enjoy your trip!! Road trips are the best!!!

Dallas
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9. Re: Is it safe for two girls driving from Austin to Santa Fe, NM

Another point about timing your drive: in the late afternoon, you will be driving into the sun. This can be problematic as the sun approaches the horizon and is hitting you square in the eyes. On the way back, it's the early morning that is difficult. Take sunglasses!

Cleveland
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10. Re: Is it safe for two girls driving from Austin to Santa Fe, NM

Take a tire gauge and a portable tire pump which runs on the car's power outlet. You can buy a cheap pump for less than $15 at a Wal-Mart. With frequent stops, you can avoid having to change a slowly leaking tire until you get somewhere that can repair the tire. A full-size tire also is safer and doesn't limit speed as does an undersized replacement tire. Do make certain your replacement tire is fully inflated before beginning your trip.

Bring water with you.