Nevada is under the national average for highway deaths for both per capita and per road mile measurements. Although this may be in part because of the concentration of the state’s population near Las Vegas and Reno, that the state is ranked 35th in population and 42nd in density. This keeps the congestion in all but the downtown of Las Vegas a non-issue. Because of this scarcity of population in most of the state, ensuring your car safety off the beaten path should be considered.
The amazing facts of Nevada State can help provide you with some caution while driving outside of Las Vegas or Reno. First, 86% of the state is under direct control of the federal government. This means these areas roads are also under control of the federal government; as the roads may only be used mainly by military or scientists, they may not be in the best of shape in the very rural areas of the state. Be sure to stay off of “restricted” roads as well. In the very edges of these roads, they can quickly deteriorate into gravel roads and further into simple trails. Try not to travel these areas without a local guide, a properly outfitted vehicle and lots of supplies.
Staying on the state highway system as a new adventurer in the Nevada rural areas may be the best idea to keep yourself and family safe while driving around the state. As the state is also a state with the most mountain peaks in the contiguous US, you can often find yourself in areas that you were not prepared for. From snow-capped mountains to deserts, the state is a lesson in the extremes of the state’s environment.
It’s only Interstate, I-15, only passes through the southern tip of the state and Reno and Las Vegas are one of only a few states major cities that are not connected by a major interstate. These cities instead rely on a number of US and State highways to connect to each other. Although many counties have road systems, in the rural areas of the state, which is most of it, they are often unmarked and even unpaved.
Mountains & Deserts
Nevada is almost exclusively made up of a physiographic region known as the Great Basin and Range Province that covers most of the Western US and extends down into Mexico. The most apt description of the area lists it as a geographic region with long narrow mountain ranges with wide, flat and arid valleys. This describes much of the northern half of the state, whereas in the lower southern portion, where Las Vegas is located, it is the Mojave Desert.
In the Great Basin areas, there are lush forests on high plains between mountain ranges, contrasted starkly with desert type lower valleys that are devoid of trees. With the alternating desert plains and the Mojave; Nevada is in fact the driest state in the US. With most of the state being desert and portions being semiarid; daytime temperatures can often reach as high as 125F and night time lows in the winter can reach as low as -50F. Although the northern part of the state has long and cold winters, the southern portion of the state has relatively short and mild winters.
Nevada is an “at fault” state using the 50% bar rule for its modified comparative fault determinations for auto accidents in civil suits. Essentially in the state if you are involved in an accident and found to be at fault more than 50%, you are not eligible to recover any of your costs for the accident. However, if you are under 50% at fault, you can make a claim against your own insurance, against the offending party’s insurance or in a civil lawsuit to recoup your losses.
The state requires insurance to be carried at 15/30/10 coverage rates. This refers to fifteen thousand for individual injuries, thirty for multiple person injuries and ten thousand for property damage.
Multiple Penalties for DUI
Although Nevada does not have the harshest penalties for DUI, it does include some of the most comprehensive penalties in its dual administrative and criminal system. Not only will you face the most popular penalties like license revocation and suspension, jail time and monetary fines, but you can expect a whole host of others like community service, alcohol or abuse counseling services, DUI school, ignition interlock devices and reinstatement fees.
Although for even a fourth offense jail times are only up to 7 years and only suspensions are only 90 days for a first offense, these other penalties provide further opportunities for drivers to reflect on their mistakes and hopefully make a better choice the next time.
With 12 points in 12 months you could get a license suspension for three months, the same amount of time as for your first DUI in Nevada. These traffic violations can range from 1 point to 12 points and for a full range of offenses from following too closely to DUI charges to failing to stop for a stop sign. Points can be removed from your driving record by taking a driver’s education course, but only up to 3 points at a time and only once within every twelve months.
Did You Know That…
1. It is nicknamed the Silver State, because of the early importance of Silver for the economy of the state.
2. Nevada is also considered a “Battle Born” state, as it was admitted to the Union during the Civil war.
3. You can only recover damages in an accident if you are 49% or less at fault.
4. With 172 mountain summits, it has more mountains than every other US state except Alaska.
5. You can get a full license at 16 in Nevada (restrictions apply).
6. Nevada is the driest state in the US and is almost exclusively desert and semiarid.
7. Even a 4th DUI conviction only results in 7 years of jail time.
8. All underage drivers, under 18 cannot drive between 10am and 5 pm, except to or from school or work.
9. It is the 7th largest state by area but 8th least densely populated state in the US.
10. The state’s area was annexed from Mexico after the Mexican-American War in 1850.