Realising you need the toilet 20 minutes into a road trip can ruin the whole experience. It’s one of the most annoying (and sometimes painful) experiences for drivers and passengers.
So spare a thought for the poor souls trapped on the roads highlighted in this latest study from bathroom suppliers QS Supplies. Based on data from the UK motorway services and US interstate highways, it reveals the longest stretches of roads in the UK and USA with no rest stops.
Service station stops in the UK
The M8 motorway is one of Scotland’s major transport networks. It connects the cities of Edinburgh and Glasgow, two of the country’s largest and most significant urban centres.
Millions of people travel along it every month. And for those who don’t empty their own tanks before setting off, it can quickly become a frustrating journey. There are over 60 miles between service stations on this stretch of road. That’s a long way to go without going!
The M11 is almost as bad. There are 40 miles between rest stops on this motorway, which starts in East London and runs to the south of Cambridge.
Longest stretches of UK motorways without a service station
The UK Highways Agency recommends a service station stop every 28 miles. But that’s not always the case.
44.6 miles separate Cobham Services from South Mimms Service on the M25. You could cover that in less than 40 minutes when the traffic is light. Most people can hold it in for 40 minutes. The problem is that the M25, also known as the London Orbital, encircles Greater London, forming a ring road connecting several key areas around the capital city. And that means it’s always busy.
Rest stops in the USA
The USA boasts the longest road network in the world, spanning a staggering 6.59 million kilometres.
There are plenty of rest stops dotted across that giant network. But it might not feel like that if you’re caught short on the I-49. Because if you decide to hold it in, you’ll have to cover another 264 miles of road before you get another chance to go. That’s hours’ worth of driving.
The I-72 is another highway with a vast stretch of road between rest stops. On average, there are 179 miles between every service station. Maybe keep an empty plastic bottle in the car, just in case. Or is that too disgusting?
Longest stretches of US highways without a rest stop
When you’ve got to go, you’ve got to go. But that’s easier said than done for drivers stuck on the I-22.
The I-22 runs approximately 202 miles from Memphis, Tennessee, through the northern part of Mississippi, and into Birmingham, Alabama. It’s a major east-west corridor connecting these urban centres and various communities. But there’s not a single rest stop along that entire stretch of highway.
It’s a similar story for drivers cruising the I-43. Also known as Interstate 43, it’s a north-south interstate highway primarily connecting Wisconsin and Illinois. If you find yourself travelling this road, make sure you pull in at the rest stop in Elkhorn, Wisconsin – because it’s 136 miles until the next one.