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How Far will Uber Drivers Take you? Is there a Distance Limit?

Smiling driver talking with a female passenger while holding a mobile phone.

If you keep up with the Uber driver community, you’ve probably heard tell of drivers who were offered huge sums of money for a long-distance trip. Many drivers think it’s a glitch in the system and turn it down, but oftentimes it’s all too real.

More commonly, drivers receive requests for long-distance trips from passengers who are unaware of the costs a driver may face. Passengers are far less likely to book an Uber if they don’t compensate their drivers appropriately.

Yes, legally, Uber drivers can take you long distances; however, there are a few stipulations. For one thing, you have to make sure your driver is actually willing to go the distance.

Here are the answers to distance-related questions you may have about Uber trips and their drivers.

Is there a distance limit for an Uber Trip?

An uber driver showing his mobile phone to his female passenger.

Distance? No. Time? Yes.

Even when Uber drivers aren’t traveling long distances, they are only allowed to be “on-duty” for 12 hours. This is a safety precaution meant to protect drivers and passengers from mistakes that can happen with fatigue. When going a long distance, the limit is 8 hours.

If you maintain a steady average of around 65 mph, this means you might get 500 miles before you couldn’t go any further on the same trip.

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This doesn’t restrict you from requesting another trip for the same or a different driver. Just keep in mind that your current driver can’t accept a trip in another state. If you drive 8 hours with one driver and are still in the same state, you can request another trip with them for another four hours.

Keep in mind that one driver can’t drive for more than 12 hours in a day.

Can Uber take you to another state?

Uber can take you across state lines as long as the trip originated in the state they are registered to drive.

When an Uber driver gets accepted in their state, they have to undergo background checks, and they have to have a current license and insurance. If they don’t have this kind of approval in other states, they can’t accept trips there.

Unfortunately for drivers, this means they can’t take a passenger on the way back. They aren’t making money on the return trip, so many drivers will refuse long-distance trips for this reason.

Some states and countries may require your driver to have special licenses, insurance, and/or certifications. This means that your driver may be able to drop you off in Canada or Mexico, but they will have to be pre-approved to do so.

Will Uber drivers accept long trips?

A silhouetted couple drives home through the rain.

Whether your driver accepts a trip depends on a lot of things.

Uber drivers cannot see the final destination when they are accepting trips. This is why it’s a good idea to contact your driver after they’ve accepted your trip to let them know where you’re going. At this point, they are allowed to refuse the trip.

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When a trip appears for an Uber driver to accept or reject, they see things like the estimated time, pay, your passenger rating, and the type of ride.

They also now get notifications for trips that are estimated to take longer than 45 minutes, and they are not penalized for rejecting trips.

Some Uber drivers exclusively accept long-distance trips while some only accept trips in their own city. It entirely depends on who is available and what their driving preferences are.

One huge incentive for a driver, however, is if you offer a big tip to incentivize that empty return trip, cost of gas, and lodgings for the night.

Do drivers prefer longer or shorter rides?

That depends on who you ask.

Some reports suggest that most drivers prefer longer trips to break up the monotony of driving in the same city. However, there is a lot for a driver to consider when their day job is Uber.

For one thing, they may not have the money or the preparation time for long-distance trips. They are purchasing their own gas, food, and lodgings, after all. They also may decide that making many small trips in their own city is more profitable than taking one long trip with a lot of extra costs.

Still, a lot of drivers prefer the adventure of inter-state travel and long road trips. There will always be someone available who would be thrilled to take you where you need to go.

How far in advance can you book an Uber?

Close-up shot of man's hands using a smartphone with his uber app.

You can book an Uber 30 days in advance. It is recommended that you book early and contact your driver when you’re requesting a long-distance trip.

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This will enable your driver to make accommodations, including packing a bag, taking off of work if they have another job, and booking a hotel.

Also, as drivers cannot see their end destination when they accept a trip, your contacting them will help make sure they’re accepting this trip with all of the information they need to make the best decision for them.

Is a long-distance Uber trip worth it?

Whether the rate for a long-distance Uber is worth it for you depends entirely on what inter-state travel costs through other means.

Post-Covid, airline tickets are at a record low, though there’s no telling when that will change. Costs for airplane tickets, train tickets, and cabs vary from state to state and change with the times.

Check your other transportation services and compare costs and benefits. Some people are willing to pay a premium for traveling in a large, luxury sedan with only a single driver. If that’s you, then it may absolutely be worth it for a long-distance Uber.

If you can’t travel by plane, then an Uber may be much more comfortable than a cab.

Regardless of cost, weigh for yourself what you’re willing to pay and sacrifice for a long-distance trip.

Can I get an Uber in another state or country?

Yes. You do not have the same restrictions as drivers do.

Uber itself is available in every US state, Puerto Rico, and 71 other countries. However, not every city has Uber available. You may still be able to get an Uber driver if you are in a neighboring city with Uber depending on the preferences of the drivers in that city.

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When an uber driver gets a request, they don’t get paid for the time and distance they travel to pick up a passenger, so it may not be worth it for them to make a long trip to pick you up.

You can check whether your city has Uber by going to the help page on the Uber website.