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How Long Does It Take To Drive 12 Miles?

By Harvey

Twelve miles is a pretty common city-bound drive.

In smaller cities, it can get you from one side to the other, and, in many larger cities, if you’re starting from the center, it can get you just about anywhere on the outskirts you want to go.

(Even in a city like Los Angeles, twelve miles will get you to many of the nearby suburbs.)

Of course, twelve miles is also a crapshoot. How long it takes to drive it depends heavily on whether you are inside or outside a city and the circumstances of the road.

But here’s how long it takes to drive 12 miles at some common speed limits.

How long does it take to drive 12 miles on U.S. interstates?

guy driving car

Speed limits on U.S. interstates are 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 10 minutes and 17 seconds to drive 12 miles.
  • At 75 mph, it takes 9 minutes and 36 seconds to drive 12 miles.

How long does it take to drive 12 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 13 minutes and 5 seconds to drive 12 miles.
  • At 65 mph, it takes 11 minutes and 5 seconds to drive 12 miles.

How long does it take to drive 12 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 20 minutes and 34 seconds to drive 12 miles.
  • At 45 mph, it takes 16 minutes to drive 12 miles.

But, when driving through a city or town, you can definitely expect to hit a few red lights and stop signs and should assume a longer drive time.

How Long It Takes To Drive 12 Miles Really Depends

winter driving

As illustrated, how long it takes to drive 12 miles greatly depends on the types of roads you’re on and the speed limits on those roads.

Driving 12 miles down the interstate will take you around 10 minutes (most of the time), while driving 12 miles through a city will likely take you twice that long.

So, the answer as to how long it takes to drive 12 miles is that there is no exact 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 12 miles at common speed limits under perfect (non-stop) conditions:

How Long To Drive 12 Miles
Speed LimitTime
2529 min
3520 min 30 sec
4516 min
5513 min
6012 min
6511 min
7010 min 15 sec
759 min 30 sec