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Old 10-16-2021, 09:56 AM   #1
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Is it me ... or is it I40?

Now ... i have driven a fair number of miles, north, south, east, and west. But i am recently returned from a trip where i was, for only the second time, (westbound) on I40 east of the Mississippi (roughly between memphis and nashville and somewhat east of that). For the second time i felt virtually traumatized (MUCH more so than on other roads). Both truckers and cars driving significantly over the speed limit. Cars cutting you off or not allowing you to merge or change lanes. Truck drivers driving erratically (not staying in lane), passing you in construction areas, and (worst of all) passing, while not keeping a clearly straight line in their lane, in construction areas with narrow lanes, AND concrete barriers on both sides, inches from the painted lane boundaries.

I have driven I40 WEST of little rock through oklahoma/texas/ NM, and AZ without nearly the same level of concern or stress. On this last trip, i turned northbound onto I49/I35, and that entire drive was downright relaxing (yes, some trucks passed me, but they were under control and passed at a downright leisurely rate).

Is there something about that stretch of I40 east of memphis/nashville that maybe has a markedly higher number of truckers that are maybe new? Badly trained? Independent individual owners? Or making the long haul east/west run, and so are in a hurry?? What is it about that stretch of I40?

(Slight aside - the stretch of I65 from louisville to nashville was almost as bad ... in fact a few weeks ago they had a large pileup, in perfectly clear weather, about 20 miles south of louisville. Involved both cars and trucks, and closed the highway in both directions

Second aside - i have, several times, punched straight through nashville, both east and westbound, on I24, and NOT had the same level of discomfort with the trucks and cars.

So ... is it me, or is it I40 in that area?
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Old 10-16-2021, 11:15 AM   #2
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No... it is not you. Been there and done that.....won't do it again. I40 is a disaster between Memphis and Nashville. I travel from NM to SC often and about to take a trip at the end of the month. I head south at Memphis and come up through Birmingham then through Atlanta to SC just to avoid that I40 mess. Plus this time of year weather is a concern on top of that mess.
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Old 10-16-2021, 11:28 AM   #3
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Sounds awful. Is there a way around using a US highway?
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Old 10-16-2021, 12:26 PM   #4
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Sounds awful. Is there a way around using a US highway?


If youare going to/from louisville, youcan cut north at memphis and catch the western kentucky parkway I69. Very few resources, but calm and beautiful. Not sure about us highways eastbound out of memphis towards Chattanooga...
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Old 10-17-2021, 05:41 AM   #5
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We travel from Michigan to south Texas yearly and I have to agree that I-40 between Memphis and Little Rock is probably the busiest section of Interstate we have used and carries a LOT of trucks. I-35 between Dallas and San Antonio is a very close second, especially around Austin. Last year we stayed off the Interstate system for much of the trip, and although it took a little longer it was a MUCH more enjoyable trip. At least for me (the driver). The Natchez Trace was great!
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Old 10-18-2021, 09:43 AM   #6
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Been there and done that and believe it should be avoided at any cost.
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Old 10-18-2021, 10:04 AM   #7
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I have driven that route many times in both directions. As recently as Aug of this year and didn't notice that the stretch between Nashville and Memphis being any worse than the rest of I-40. I-40 is the main east/west route and the truck traffic can be relentless, with trucks speeding, passing, going slow and doing all matter of disruptive things. I expect it so it isn't really a problem. If you need to cross the country going east or west and don't want to take a more circuitous route I-40 is the way to go. Just relax, keep your eyes open in all directions, turn up the tunes and drive on. I am more disturbed by the roughness of the road, some parts will definitely rattle your fillings.

Safe travels,
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Old 10-18-2021, 11:05 AM   #8
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If youare going to/from louisville, youcan cut north at memphis and catch the western kentucky parkway I69. Very few resources, but calm and beautiful. Not sure about us highways eastbound out of memphis towards Chattanooga...
It has been many years since I drove this but one night when leaving Memphis east bound with a drop deck trailer and semi I decided to take a two lane road instead of I40 as I thought it would cut several miles and time off my trip. BOY was I wrong. Lots of small towns and very windy roads. I learned a lesson real quick.
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Old 10-18-2021, 12:47 PM   #9
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I have driven that route many times in both directions. As recently as Aug of this year and didn't notice that the stretch between Nashville and Memphis being any worse than the rest of I-40. I-40 is the main east/west route and the truck traffic can be relentless, with trucks speeding, passing, going slow and doing all matter of disruptive things. I expect it so it isn't really a problem. If you need to cross the country going east or west and don't want to take a more circuitous route I-40 is the way to go. Just relax, keep your eyes open in all directions, turn up the tunes and drive on. I am more disturbed by the roughness of the road, some parts will definitely rattle your fillings.



Safe travels,


I dont know ... ihave driven I40 west of there and not really had any trouble. Ive driven that stretch between memphis and nashville twice, and both times felt virtually traumatized by the truck behavior
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Old 10-18-2021, 01:12 PM   #10
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This past summer I took a trip that included 8 states... TN had by far the worst highways. It's not you.
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Old 10-18-2021, 04:49 PM   #11
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Sounds pretty bad, but I dare you to give I35E a shot thru Dallas , idiots every where, cars and truckers on fire or crashed and on the side of the road, ladders, recliners and you name it all over, never ending construction everywhere. And then there the folks that go 90 or the others that go 45 and then there's those that stay 2 feet off your bumper or those that love sitting right there to the side instead of passing. Lets not forget the goof balls that have a load tied down with a shoe string.

I just don't understand the lack of situational awareness.

35e thru Dallas or Ft. Worth should also be avoided at all costs.
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Old 10-25-2021, 04:49 PM   #12
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...I have to agree that I-40 between Memphis and Little Rock is probably the busiest section of Interstate we have used...
That's because you have the normal busy traffic going east/west on I 40, plus the huge amount of traffic northbound from Dallas....they go north to LIT on I 30, east on I 40 to MEM, then north on I 55.
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Old 10-25-2021, 04:57 PM   #13
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Add I-10 to the List - Houston to Baton Rouge

The description of I-40 between Memphis and Little Rock is eerily familiar to a typical day driving I-10 between Houston and Baton Rouge!! Heavy traffic + lots of trucks + lots of construction (with narrow lanes) + crappy pavement in many areas = a very stressful drive with the coach enduring magnitude 6 earthquake pounding.
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Old 10-25-2021, 05:20 PM   #14
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I feel your pain!
Drove that stretch last week and damn never seen so many trucks!
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