There is a lot to do in Vegas, and many people decide to either drive here or rent a car once they arrive. Driving around Las Vegas is a little different than driving in other cities. Fortunately, with some planning and the exercise of sufficient care, avoiding accidents is possible.
Consider Not Driving if You Only Want to See the Strip
Many visitors only come to visit the Strip, in particular the casinos. If this describes you, then you will be happy to learn that there are many alternatives to driving. You can see everything you want on the Strip by riding the bus, monorail, or using one of the free shuttles.
Of course, if you choose to visit a location off the Strip—and there is a lot to do in Vegas other than take in a show or gamble—then renting a vehicle makes a little more sense. There are many rental car companies that service the city, including Alamo and Avis. Many are at McCarran airport. The recent recession has sent many companies into bankruptcy, but there should always be plenty of options available.
Drive on the Right-Hand Side of the Road
Many of our visitors come from overseas, where it is customary to drive on the left-hand side. In the U.S., we drive on the right-hand side of the road.
Be Careful in Rush Hour
Some people claim rush hour lasts 24/7 in Las Vegas. That’s a bit of an overstatement, but traffic is particularly congested in the following time slots:
- Weekdays, 7-9 am and 4-6 pm
- Weekends after 4 pm
People are traveling to and from work during this period and, on the weekend, a lot of visitors flock to the city. Ideally, you can get to your destinations during off-peak hours.
A word about the Strip: it is usually congested all day, and traffic slows to a crawl. At moments at peak congestion, traffic hardly moves at all.
Use Side Streets to Avoid Traffic Congestion
If you find the Strip clogged, then you might take parallel streets to get to your location. To the west of the Strip are Frank Sinatra Drive and Industrial Road. Paradise Road is to the east. These roads tend to move faster, and you can reach some of the casinos that way. You might also park and then walk the rest of the Strip, especially if you are not traveling far.
Watch for the Speed Limit
The speed limit is posted. Some locals claim that you really need to be driving 15 miles per hour (at least) over the posted limit just to keep up with the flow of traffic. Remember, driving too slowly can be dangerous, also.
However, there is so much construction going on in Vegas, that you need to be aware that slower speeds are often enforced in these construction zones. Always provide enough room between you and the car in front of you in case you need to stop suddenly.
Make a Right Turn on Red
This is legal, unless otherwise posted. However, you need to make sure that the lane is open. Check that pedestrians are not stepping into the crosswalk before making your turn.
Know You Can Make a U-Turn
U-turns are also legal in Las Vegas unless a posted sign prohibits them. You also must be able to make a U-turn safely before attempting it, and this means being aware of traffic behind you and traffic in the other lane.
Most casinos have valet parking that is free, though it is customary to tip around $5. There should be a sign stating whether the parking lot is full, though you can always ask a valet. If you are a hotel guest, then you should receive preference for any parking spaces.
There is also free parking at multilevel parking garages, though you will need a validation stamp in the casinos downtown.
There are gas stations around the city. If you are taking a trip outside Las Vegas, then you should definitely gas up before leaving. The availability is spotty in more rural areas.
Every visitor is at a heightened risk of getting into a crash simply because they are not as familiar with the streets as locals. Someone who is looking for a side street or a landmark is not watching the road very closely. Consequently, they might not see someone step out in front of their vehicle or another vehicle trying to merge.
Try not to ask for directions without pulling over even if it’s just Siri you are asking. It’s dangerous to look up directions while driving.
Avoid Drinking & Driving
Nevada police aggressively enforce DUI, even on The Strip. If you are going to drink, then designate a driver who will stay sober. Many people misjudge how much alcohol they can consume before their judgment and coordination become impaired, so it is better to be safe than sorry and drink only non-alcoholic beverages.
As in most states, a motorist over age 21 cannot have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 or higher. If you do, you have committed DUI.
You can also be arrested and convicted of DUI if you have any alcohol in your system and your faculties are impaired. An officer will use his or her eyewitness testimony to show that you were driving in an unsafe manner.
Do Not Smoke Marijuana & Drive
Nevada has made recreational marijuana legal for those aged 21 and over. However, you can still be arrested for DUI if marijuana impairs your ability to drive safely. There are also maximum amounts of marijuana or marijuana metabolite that you can have in your system, as shown by a blood or urine test. If convicted, you could spend up to 6 months in jail.
Contact Ladah Law if You Are Involved in an Accident
Our lawyers have helped many visitors injured during their stay, and we can explain your legal options. Contact us today by calling (702) 252-0055 to schedule a complimentary consultation.