Nevada can be a difficult state to drive in even for born-and-raised residents. Car accidents are common at all times of the year, with 234 fatal accidents in Nevada in 2019 alone. Driving in bad weather such as a high heat index or snowfall can make things even more dangerous. Learning a few tips for driving safely on Nevada’s roads could help you prevent a serious car accident.
Avoid Nevada’s Most Dangerous Roads
Like all states, Nevada has some roads with higher accident rates and death tolls than others. Certain roads and highways in Nevada are inherently more dangerous due to their design or the amount of traffic they see, especially around the holidays and in winter weather. One such road in Nevada is the Mount Rose Summit/Mount Rose Scenic Drive. While this paved 25-mile stretch between Lake Tahoe and Reno is beautiful, it can be a deathtrap in the wintertime.
Mt. Rose Highway is one of the state’s highest-elevation roads (about 8,911 feet at its summit) that is open to drivers year-round. With sharp turns and twists winding down the drive, it can be impossible to navigate safely in weather such as snow and ice. Mt. Rose Highway becomes so dangerous for drivers, in fact, that the Nevada Department of Transportation imposed a chain requirement on this road for the 2018-2019 winter season. The only exceptions were four-wheel or all-wheel vehicles with snow tires. Avoid this route altogether in the winter, if possible.
Another particularly dangerous road in Nevada is U.S. 93 from Las Vegas to Phoenix. In 2018, Value Penguin ranked this road as the most dangerous in America. This 200-mile stretch reported 70 fatal car accidents in six years. This is comparatively more than any other highway in Nevada. Staying off of Nevada’s most dangerous roads, especially during peak traffic times such as around the holidays, could help you avoid an auto accident.
Prepare Your Car Before You Go
Poor vehicle maintenance is one of the most common causes of car accidents in Nevada. Brakes that give out, lights that do not work, worn-down tires and barely functioning windshield wipers can all contribute to serious collisions. Before you hit the road – especially on a road trip or long drive for the holidays – give your vehicle a once over. Check its lights, fluids, tire pressure and tread, windshield wipers, battery health, and gas level. Take your vehicle to a professional mechanic if you need assistance.
Pack Supplies in Case of Emergencies
You never know what kind of predicament you could get into when you embark on a trip in Nevada. An unexpected mechanical issue could leave you stranded in the desert in extreme heat or cold, for example. Keep emergency food, medical and mechanical supplies in your vehicle at all times just in case. Pack essentials such as a basic tool kit, first-aid kit, non-perishable food, bottled water, an extra phone charger, a battery-operated radio, a map, and a flashlight. Include cold-weather supplies such as a blanket, snow shovel and cat litter (for traction if your car gets stuck in snow) if heading out during the winter.
Be a Safe Driver
Driver error is the number one cause of car accidents in Nevada. While you cannot control how other people drive, you can improve your own driving habits. Being a safe and prudent driver can reduce your risk of car accidents even on Nevada’s most dangerous roads and in bad weather.
- Avoid distractions
- Keep both hands on the wheel
- Drive at or below the speed limit
- Merge slowly and carefully
- Use turn signals
- Come to complete stops at stop signs
- Yield the right-of-way
- Obey traffic laws
Be courteous to others on the road to avoid accidents and road-rage incidents. Drive defensively to help predict and prevent a collision. If you do get into a car accident in Nevada, speak to a Las Vegas car accident lawyer for legal advice. The at-fault driver or a different party may owe you compensation for your medical bills and property damages.