Las Vegas Driving

Las Vegas Driving can be a challenge for visitors who want to drive in Las Vegas. I believe there are only two groups of people from out of state who should be able to rent a car in Las Vegas. The groups include people who have driven in Tokyo or Boston for four or more years without an accident. Although limiting new traffic in Las Vegas, will give everyone an even chance on the road. The following list is based on my experience driving in all three of these areas. I exclude New York drivers because those drivers seem to be mainly taxi drivers who retired to Florida or California.


Las Vegas "tree"

I don’t believe there is anyone that is responsible for monitoring the patchwork done on the Las Vegas streets. Construction work can cut a path across a road, “patch” it, and walk away (quickly.) I have driven across some “patches” that set off the crash detector in my dash camera. If you try going slow at these places, you get the possibility of getting rear-ended! At the right, you can see one of the newer “Nevada State Trees”. The old-growth trees are much wider in size. These are on many side streets such as Decatur Boulevard, Charleston Boulevard, and Las Vegas Boulevard near the Town Square Shopping Center.

Las Vegas streets Change Their Names

When you get through all the construction issues and bravely drive north on Las Vegas Boulevard, be sure to have your navigator watch for the bend in the road. If you stop at the Fremont Street “experience” be sure to watch the overhead light show at night. Then drive east on Fremont Street from Las Vegas Boulevard and you may wonder how you got on Boulder Highway. Streets that change names on the other side of an intersection only add to the fun (or confusion if you are in a hurry) of driving in Las Vegas.

Tourists are Allowed Lane Changes

I have seen drivers make right turns from the left lane and left turns from the right lane. I am not sure if it is because GPS is telling them to or if they are making their own “new driving rules”. Another example of these “new rules” is making a U-turn at a red light. And don’t expect them to actually Stop at a Red light when making a right turn. They only slow down to avoid rolling their vehicle.

Weather can be a Driving Issue

Driving in hot weather requires more caution than you would normally expect. The other driver is probably in a hurry to get out of the 100+ degree heat. In addition to burning extra gas to use the air conditioner, the car is probably not very cool. If you dare to go on I-15 or US-95, expect to get in traffic jams. As I mentioned above lane changes become a bit of a challenge (or game) during these traffic jams. Drivers are known to just keep going (hit-skip) if they run into the rear of your vehicle or sideswipe you. Hit-skip even makes it sound like a game.

Las Vegas driving hazard

There is also something known as the Monsoon season. You are alerted to the season by the billboards that implore you to “turn around, don’t drown”. Obviously, these are posted too high above roads, as someone almost always tries to cross the road in low-lying areas. Some of these storms can dump a LOT of rain in a short time. Look at the sewers (if you can find one) at intersections and you will see a lot of debris in them. This makes the water flow in the street rather than in the sewers. You may see some of the plots of land dedicated to the overflow from the streets. These remain empty for most of the year, but the thought is heartwarming.

Watch for Pedestrians

Pedestrians obviously have the right of way inside a crosswalk. During daylight hours this isn’t usually a problem. Once in a while, someone who has too much to drink (or has lost too much at a Casino) decides to cross in between crosswalks. Again hot weather may make a person try to cross where they normally wouldn’t. This is not only dangerous for them, but it can create a driving hazard.
Pedestrians at night require more attention when driving. For some reason, which I don’t understand, many people wear all-black clothing. This makes them invisible until they are in a lighted area. They still have the right of way but can be put in danger if a driver is not paying close attention.

Stay Safe – Take a Hotel Shuttle, Taxi, Uber or Lyft

After going through the above, my suggestion is to take some form of public transportation. Going to and from the Hotel use their shuttle whenever possible. Taxis, Uber, and Lyft are also available for these trips. I drove for Lyft for a while and there are a lot of them in service. After my vehicle accident, I rode in some taxis and they were good but more expensive. If you do decide to drive, please remember Liquor, Guns, and Marijuana are legal in Nevada. Don’t get into a road rage situation with anyone (especially in hot weather.)
Welcome to driving in Las Vegas but watch out for the other driver. They may not be as good a driver as you.

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