A well-planned trip to Las Vegas has the potential to be the experience of a lifetime. But without doing a little research beforehand, your trip could quickly become frustrating and expensive, especially if you’re driving on Vegas roads for the first time. Sin City has a higher rate of car accidents compared to the rest of the country, so you do need to understand Las Vegas driving laws and how to navigate the city before coming into it blindly.
Shook & Stone wants you to have a fun and safe time in this exciting place we like to call home, so we’ve compiled a list of driving tips in Las Vegas to help you have maximum fun and zero hassles.
#1: Familiarize Yourself With Las Vegas Traffic Laws
Traffic laws sometimes vary from state to state, so it’s in your best interests to brush up on those that are unique to the state of Nevada. Knowing how to drive in Las Vegas can save you from hefty citations. If you plan on drinking during your visit (most visitors do), be aware that a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 or higher merits a DUI charge in the state. Officers in the area are highly vigilant about detecting drunk drivers, so you may be pulled over even at lower levels and asked to take a field sobriety test.
Nevada highway speed limits usually fall between 70 – 75 MPH. Once you hit Las Vegas proper, the limit drops to 65 MPH — until you reach the main streets, which are typically 25, 35, or 45 due to the higher number of pedestrians and dense concentration of attractions. Those who speed in this vicinity rarely avoid getting a speeding ticket, but you’ll be happy to learn that U-turns at green lights and right-hand turns at red lights (after a complete stop) are both legal in Las Vegas unless otherwise specified.
#2: Know Where to Rent a Car
Although driving isn’t your only transportation option, most visitors choose to drive cars in Las Vegas so they can keep to their own schedule and have more freedom. With so many tourists coming in and out of the city at all times, there are plenty of well-priced rental car companies to choose from. You shouldn’t have problems finding something around $30 per day unless you visit during a busy time of year such as summer, when rental rates will be much higher.
McCarran International Airport is host to 11 reputable rental companies just three miles south of the terminals. Research the 11 rental car companies here and make prior arrangements to have a car ready for you when you get to Vegas. Shuttles run back and forth between the rental car companies and the terminals at all times, and you can rent cars from the airport’s rental hub even if you aren’t flying into or out of Las Vegas.
#3: Look Into Downtown Parking Options Ahead of Time
Parking in downtown Las Vegas can be a huge source of frustration and distraction — two elements notorious for causing crashes. If you have activities planned on the Las Vegas Strip, plan ahead so you don’t cut into your fun time looking for parking. Some casinos and hotels offer free valet parking and/or free long-term parking in their garages. You can call the places you plan to visit ahead of time and ask them if this is something they offer or simply visit Vegas.com to locate free garages.
If you’ve got a device connected to WiFi or cellular data, you can also use online parking directory services to find a parking spot at the time, location, and price you need. The ParkMobile app, for instance, is available for iOS and Android systems. The app lets you reserve and pay for your parking ahead of time at some of the biggest venues in the city. SpotAngels is another free parking app that helps you find the best deals on great spots and avoid parking tickets.
#4: Avoid Traffic by Planning Alternative Routes
Rush-hour traffic occurs at the same time in Las Vegas as it does in other urban areas. From 7 to 9 AM and 4 – 6 PM, the roads tend to be especially busy, so try to avoid driving during those time frames. The Strip is notorious for being backed up during those times as well as on Fridays and Saturdays, but you can dodge the mess altogether by taking the back roads or simply by visiting Nevada Dot to see the current traffic conditions.
Las Vegas Boulevard is close to Paradise Road, Frank Sinatra Drive, and Industrial Road, all of which can still get you to the city’s main attractions. If you plan to take a trip from the north to the south end of town or vice versa, consider hopping onto I-15. When traveling east to west, use the Desert Inn arterial expressway, which bypasses the traffic of both the Strip and the interstate.
If you’re still in doubt about alternative routes, Google Maps and Apple Maps are useful tools while driving in Vegas. They can reroute you, showing you the roads with the least traffic and the shortest travel time to your destination. They’ll also alert you of any road work or accidents in the area and update your route accordingly.
#5: Don’t Use Just Any Gas Station
Las Vegas has no shortage of gas stations. They’re available on the Strip, in neighborhoods, and right off of freeway exits. When you can’t find gas, use your smartphone’s map app to guide you to the nearest fuel. If you aren’t new to the city, you’ve probably realized that not all gas stations are created equal; the price per gallon tends to be a little higher around the Strip. Keep a little extra green in your pocket for the slots and spend less money on gas by using free apps like GasBuddy and Gas Guru, which will locate the stations with the best prices and save you a few cents per gallon.
#6: Find a Trusted Towing Service Before Your Trip
The last thing you want to experience on your Vegas getaway is a car breakdown. If you’ve never visited the area before, it can be especially scary to break down without knowing which local services are most reliable and affordable. Although you most likely won’t need it, do some research and have the number of a highly rated towing specialist under your belt before your trip. You can’t always take the business’s word for the quality of their services, so consider visiting the top 10 best-rated towing companies in Vegas, which have been ranked and rated by former customers.
#7: Never, Ever Drive Drunk
You’ve come to Las Vegas for a good time, but make sure that your fun doesn’t interfere with the safety of others. If you’ve been drinking, no matter how little, do not get behind the wheel of the car — it’s as simple as that. Not only could you fail a breathalyzer test and end up serving up to six months in jail, but you also risk the lives of others. Roughly 80 innocent lives are claimed each year by drunk drivers. Don’t add to this statistic. If you or a loved one are affected by a drunk driver, Shook & Stone’s personal injury team can help.
Injured in Las Vegas? Contact Shook & Stone.
By following these seven tips, you’re sure to have a great experience on Nevada roads. In the event that things turn ugly and you are injured by another driver in Las Vegas, contact our personal injury lawyers immediately at (702) 570-0000 for a case evaluation.