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Module 5

Nevada Rules of the Road

Knowledge is power. In the last module, we discussed how important it is to be able to identify the meaning, instructions, and warnings contained in traffic signals and signs. In this module, we move on to discuss the rules of the road in our state.

By the end of this module, you will know the general laws and specific rules of the road that cover driving in the State of Nevada.  You will also understand why those laws are in place and how they are enforced. Finally, you will be able to identify resources that you can use to stay up-to-date on driving laws and on your own driving record. Your driving record says a lot about you, and by the end of this module you’ll understand why it is important to make sure you keep that record clean and free of infractions.

Nevada Highway Systems

  • Interstate Highway System – An interstate highway is a major road that goes through more than one state, passing through many major cities. Probably the best-known interstate that passes through Nevada is Interstate 15, which brings millions of people to Las Vegas every year.
The Federal Highway Administration, through its Interstate Maintenance program, provides funding for resurfacing, restoring, rehabilitating and reconstructing most routes on the Interstate System
  • Nevada Highway System –The Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT) is responsible for the planning, construction, operation, and maintenance of the 5,400 miles of highway and more than 1,000 bridges that make up the state highway system.
  • Public Streets are maintained by the  county, city or town where the street is located.
  • Private Streets – private streets are common in Nevada. Maintenance of private streets, where the general public does not have unrestricted access, falls upon the community owners.

Nevada Traffic Laws and Enforcement

  • Our traffic laws are made by the Nevada legislature.
  • Enforcement agencies enforce the laws made by legislature.
  • DMV sets rules to see that driver and vehicle standards are met.
  • Nevada Highway Patrol enforces the laws on the highways.
  • Courts decide guilt relating to traffic law violations.

Understand the Meaning of Everyday Laws

You may feel that some driving laws are more serious or strict than others. You may feel it is not as important to follow “minor” laws as consistently as others. Take a moment now to cure yourself of these unwise thoughts. Every driving law and rule that we have was first carefully analyzed and scrutinized by experts. It was then debated by lawmakers before they finally approved and accepted it into law.

So while you may not understand why certain laws exist, it’s important to remember that driving laws and rules of the road were put in place to help prevent accidents and to keep us safe.  Driving laws prevent unnecessary injuries and deaths on Nevada roads.  If you fail to obey these traffic laws, you can be issued a citation, fine or even be charged in a criminal case.

So get used to the idea from the get-go: all of our traffic laws are important and all must be followed by their intended and literal meaning, every single time you get behind the wheel!

When we refer to the “rules of the road” we mean both the traffic laws passed by lawmakers and the driving habits that lead to safe driving for everyone on the road. These rules include:
  • Obeying all signs, signals and highway markings
  • Yielding the right-of-way to other drivers
  • Maintaining a safe speed for the conditions in which you are driving
  • Behaving courteously at all times
  • Stopping appropriately and completely
  • Consistently signaling before you turn, change lanes or pass
  • Following all posted parking regulations

As a safe and responsible driver, it’s your duty to follow these rules. If that’s not enough to convince you, you should remember that in Nevada, moving violations result in points, like demerits, against your driving record.  There are real consequences to have demerit points on your driving record. Points can affect how much you pay for car insurance.  Car insurance, of course, is required for every vehicle you drive. What’s the point in having your license if the points on your record mean you can’t afford to drive? You also should remember that any traffic violations you receive while you have your learner’s permit will cause a six-month delay in getting your regular license.

Laws and rules periodically change or are updated. The Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles provides information on laws and rules of the road.  Their website notifies drivers of any changes or updates to driving laws in the state.  The DMV website also provides links to each of the specific driving laws that you can find fully explained in the Nevada Revised Statutes. It’s a good idea to get familiar with this website and check it every so often for updates. It’s your responsibility to follow all traffic laws – even ones you didn’t know were changed or passed.

The following are some of the most important laws and rules you need to keep in mind at all times:

Obedience to Traffic Enforcement Officers

It is unlawful for any person willfully to fail or refuse to comply with any lawful order or direction of any police officer or Highway Patrol or any other officer empowered to enforce traffic laws while the officer is performing his duties. This means a driver must pull over and come to a stop as soon as it is safely possible, after being signaled to do so by a police officer in an officially marked vehicle, or an officer on foot when they are directing traffic.

OK, you knew what you should do when you saw the red lights flashing in your rearview mirror, and you’ve pulled over and stopped as far out of the lane of traffic as possible.  Now what?

Stay seated in your vehicle, with your hands in plain view, preferably on the steering wheel, and wait for the officer to come up to your car window.  Don’t make any sudden movements, like reaching in the glove compartment for your registration papers.  There will be time enough to do that If and when the officer asks to see you license, registration and insurance papers, and you can then inform him or her you are going to look for them in the glove compartment, or wherever else.

Officers are trained to ask for identification first and explain why they stopped you second.  Don’t argue with the officer;  if you think the officer is wrong, that the citation you are being issued is unfair, the place to air your grievance is not there, by the side of the road.  The proper procedure is to request a hearing is through the court system or attend the hearing for which you will receive notification.

Persons Riding on Flatbed Truck or in Bed of Pickup Truck

Nevada law prohibits people from riding on the bed of flatbed trucks and inside the bed of pickup trucks when the vehicle is being driven on the roadway. The only exception to this is when the vehicle is used for farming or in a parade, and the rider is 18-years old or older.

Texting and Cellphone Use

Texting, using the Internet, and hand-held cellphone use while driving are now against the law in Nevada.  However, you can talk using a hands-free headset and, while making voice calls, and touch the phone to “activate, deactivate or initiate a feature or function on the device.”

The fines are $50 for the first offense in seven years, $100 for the second and $250 for the third and subsequent offenses. Fines are subject to doubling if the offense occurs in a work zone. The first offense is not treated as a moving violation for DMV and insurance purposes.

Seat Belts and Child Restraint System

Why is wearing a seat belt required by law?

Here’s why: In a crash, your body weight is multiplied by the speed of the car. Let’s do the math: If you weigh 120 pounds and crash while driving just 40 miles per hour, your body, if it’s not tied down to the car, will fly forward like a rag doll and hit that wall, light pole or whatever else you crash into with a force of 4,800 pounds.!

Forget it: there’s no way you can brace yourself against that much force.  If you aren’t wearing your seat belt your chances of being seriously hurt – or worse, being thrown from the car– are much higher than they are if you are buckled up.

Every one of the 50 states in the U.S. requires drivers and passengers to wear seat belts. In Nevada, children under the age of six and those who weigh less than 60 pounds must ride in an approved child restraint system (another term for a car seat).

As the driver of the car, you are responsible for making sure that everyone —but especially all children— in the car are properly secured. If you are pulled over and law enforcement sees children who aren’t in child restraints, you could be subject to fines, community service and even the suspension of your driver’s license.

Always, always wear your seatbelt. Wear it when you’ll be spending hours in the car. Wear it when you’re just taking a five-minute trip to the store.

Just do it!

Why stop completely at stop signs and traffic lights?

Here’s why: most accidents occur at intersections. These crashes result in millions of dollars of damage, countless serious injuries, and even deaths. Your responsible decision to stop completely at a stop sign or a signal could save a life – maybe even yours.

And here’s another good reason to stop completely: one of the most common moving violation tickets law enforcement officers write is for drivers who run a stop sign or red light. Let’s be clear: You must come to a full and complete stop at all stop signs and when directed by traffic lights. You must stop at the limit line (also called the “stop line”) which is a line painted on the road at the edge of the intersection.  If there is no limit line, you must stop at the entrance to the intersection.

In Nevada, the fine for running a stop sign or red light can be as much as $1,000! These fines may vary county by county, but this type of citation can add four demerit points to your record. Ouch!

Nevada, like most states, allows drivers to make a right turn on a red light – but only in certain situations.  If you don’t see a sign prohibiting a right turn on red, and it is safe to enter the intersection, then you may turn right after you have come to a full stop. Some states, including Nevada, also allow drivers to make left turns on red if both of the streets are one way. Definitely use caution, though, in determining if both roads are indeed one-way streets.

In Nevada you may drive through a yellow traffic light as long as your car passes the limit line before the light turns red (in some states this is illegal). Remember, a yellow light is a caution signal: it is warning you that the traffic light is about to turn red. It is not your cue to speed up so you can beat the red light! Never forget that most crashes occur at intersections; this is the place for you to be extra cautious, not test your limits.

The best way to avoid collisions at intersections is to always be scanning ahead— at least a block ahead in the city—that an intersection is coming up, and to be aware of the color of the light as you move along.  If the light has been green for a while as you approach the intersection, it’s what we call a “stale” green light, so you know that you should slow down to prepare for the red light, not speed up through the yellow.

Nevada law further requires drivers to obey all traffic control devices, even those for non-permanent situations like construction zones or other temporary obstacles. Don’t forget: There are additional penalties —sometimes double the regular penalty—for any violation committed in construction zone. Do not disobey any traffic control device unless you are specifically instructed to do so by a law enforcement official who is guiding you through an unusual situation.

What does “yield” really mean?

We use that word a lot in our study of driver education. But what does it actually mean? Simply put, to yield means to let other drivers, pedestrians, and bicycles go first. Let them have the right-of-way before you proceed.   In fact, you will be yielding to other traffic, pedestrians and bicycles all the time when you are driving.

Nevada law does not really grant anyone a right when it speaks of the “right-of-way” — it only says who must yield. Even when you may legally have the right-of-way, there will be times when you must do everything possible to avoid an accident, which can mean yielding to another vehicle even though you actually do have the legal right-of-way.

Failure to yield right-of-way is the major cause of accidents in Nevada, according to the Nevada DMV; so it probably won’t surprise you to learn that failing to yield the right-of-way to other drivers is among the top five causes of car crashes in the U.S. Think about it: thousands of accidents could be avoided each year if drivers would just slow down and let others go first. It’s the law. And it could save a lot of pain, money and even lives.

Nevada provides plenty of yield signs to help you figure out who should go first. When you see a yield sign, you must slow down and allow other cars, bicycles or pedestrians to pass before you proceed. Do not force your vehicle into traffic if there is a yield sign and other cars have the right-of-way

Additional situations where you must yield the right-of-way to others include:
  • For bicycles in bike lanes
  • When you encounter flashing red and yellow lights
  • When you are in merging lanes
  • For pedestrians in crosswalks
  • At four-way stops
  • On exit ramps
  • When reversing in traffic

Your mother was right: manners matter. When yielding, a little courtesy goes a long way toward keeping the roads safe!

Speed Laws

Nevada law says: you may not drive a vehicle at such a rate of speed so as to endanger the life, limb or property of any person.  This means you must drive at a reasonable rate of speed given the road and weather conditions.

The reason that the law is worded that way, instead of providing a number, such as simply saying “You can’t drive over 55” is because conditions on a roadway can change in an instant.  If you’ve lived in Nevada for any length of time at all, you’ve witnessed such changes:  you can be riding down a bone-dry desert road in the hot sun, and moments later, the car, the road and everything else in sight is drenched from a sudden downpour.  And now you’re driving on a road that’s wet and slick.

And, what you may not yet know is that the first rain, after a long dry spell, is the time when the road is slickest—because the roadway has been absorbing oil from all the cars on it for a long period, and as soon as it is wet, it gets very slick.

So, the law is stated the way it is because the safest speed for any given road may actually be less then the posted maximum speed limit. Remember, that the posted speed limit is for daytime, ideal conditions. You are responsible for driving at a safe speed for current conditions, even if that is less than the maximum allowed. In addition to posted speed limits, you must also consider:

  • Traffic congestion
  • Weather conditions and visibility
  • Road surfaces – are they dry, wet, icy or snow-covered?
  • Road type: is it wide? Narrow? Flat? Steep? Curvy?
Here are the general speed limits in Nevada:
Limit Type of road
15 mph School zones
25 mph Business and residential areas and school zones
35 mph Residential and business areas
45 mph Reduced speed areas going into towns
55 mph Paved divided road
65 mph Urban freeways, rural highways
70 mph Rural interstate freeways

Be aware: the Nevada Department of Transportation (DOT) may adopt lower speed limits than those above wherever it feels it is necessary to protect public safety, or for trucks, overweight and oversized vehicles, trailers drawn by motor vehicles and buses.

You may also encounter special speed zones on roads where a hazard exists, or on bridges and other elevated structures.

Sometimes driving too slowly can be hazardous, such as on the freeway. Nevada lawmakers have thought of this. Our state has a law that addresses minimum speed limits as well as maximum limits. In Nevada, you are not allowed to drive so slowly that you interfere with the normal and reasonable movement of traffic.

If something is wrong with your car, however, and you must drive very slowly for a specific but temporary reason, you should take care to:
  • Drive to the far right-hand side of the road on one-lane highways
  • Drive in the far right hand lane on highways with two or more lanes
  • Use an alternate route instead of freeways with exit and entry ramps if you have to drive slower than 40 miles per hour
  • Turn your hazard lights on if appropriate

This is so important we are going to repeat it again: Speed limits are set for normal driving conditions! When bad weather interferes with visibility, or makes the road slick, you need to slow down.  You can get a ticket, or be found at fault for an accident, if you drive too fast for those particular conditions.

Also remember: when there are two or more lanes of traffic, slower traffic must move to the right.  Use the left lanes only for passing slower traffic – and move back into the right lane when you are done passing (after you have signaled, of course).  If every driver followed this simple rule, it would be easier to anticipate the actions of other drivers.

It is important to try to follow the speed and flow of traffic while still maintaining a safe distance between you and the car ahead of you. Remember, that safe distance increases along with your rate of speed. Always give yourself room to react, to brake or to change lanes – which also means you must drive at a responsible speed.

Any law enforcement officer can tell you that speeding increases your risk of having a serious accident.  For every mile per hour you drive over the speed limit, you significantly boost your risk of having a serious or even fatal accident. Driving too fast puts much more at risk than your wallet or your driving record.  You are risking your safety, the safety of your passengers and the safety of other people on the road. Trust us: you don’t want to have that conversation with the parents of your friend who was injured because he was a passenger in your car while you were speeding.

Maintaining a safe speed also does a lot more than just give you the time you need to respond to changing conditions.  Driving at a reasonable speed also helps you maintain the calm, focused attitude you need to have while driving. Your passengers will thank you, too: Your calm focus helps them to relax and feel safe while you are driving.

Intersections and Right-of-Way

In order to avoid confusion and collisions, Nevada traffic laws specify when drivers have the right-of-way. While there are specific laws regarding right of way, every driver, motorcyclist, moped rider, bicyclist and pedestrian must do everything possible to avoid an accident.

There’s a really good reason to be extra careful at intersections. The U.S. Department of Transportation estimates that 43 percent of car crashes happen there.  These crashes put drivers, passengers, and sometimes even pedestrians at risk. Remember, failure to yield the right-of-way can result in fines and points on your license.  It can also result in you being held at fault for damages if you are in an accident that was caused by your failure to yield.

Traffic collisions at intersections tend to result in serious injury, because the majority of the collisions at intersections involve side impacts. Side impacts have higher rates of death and serious injuries because, compared to a front-end or rear-end collision, there is relatively little vehicle structure in place to absorb the impact and protect the passengers.

Almost every intersection accident is caused by someone who failed to give the right-of-way to someone else. But what exactly is “right-of-way?

Right-of-way rules help us to avoid collisions when drivers find themselves crossing each other’s paths at the same time, as they so often do at an intersection. To help drivers navigate safely around these trouble spots, we have developed the concept of “right-of-way,” the general principle that establishes who has the right to go first.

In many places there are signs, signals, and other markings that clearly indicate who gets to go first. Where such signs don’t exist, such as at uncontrolled intersections, drivers use a combination of rules and common courtesy.

As a driver, and especially as a new driver, you should never insist on taking the right-of-way, even when you are sure it belongs to you. You’re the one who could get in trouble with law enforcement. That’s because Nevada law doesn’t actually grant anyone the right-of-way. It only spells out who must yield the right-of-way to someone else. This means when one driver is legally required to yield the right-of-way but doesn’t do so, the other drivers are still required to stop or yield for safety’s sake.

Here are the basic guidelines for yielding the right-of-way:
  • At an uncontrolled intersection (uncontrolled = without any stop or yield signs), slow down and prepare to stop. Give the right-of-way to cars that are already in the intersection or entering it in front of you. Always yield to the car that arrived first. If you and another driver reach the intersection at the same time, the car on the right has right-of-way.
  • If two vehicles reach a four-way stop intersection at the same time, the car on the left gives the right-of-way to the car on the right.
  • In some intersections there are stop signs on one side of the intersection but no signal or sign for the cross traffic. In this case, you have to remain stopped until all cross traffic is gone.
Always look for signals that indicate right-of-way – and then follow those rules. Some of the signals and markings that you may see at a controlled intersection that indicate right-of-way include:
  • Signal lights
  • Flashing signal lights
  • Circular arrows
  • Right turn on red signals
  • Designated lanes

Because more crashes happen at intersections than any other place, it is important to be extremely cautious when approaching any intersection, whether that intersection is controlled or uncontrolled.

The following are general rules regarding intersection safety:
  • Look both ways and be ready to brake or stop.
  • Drive at the slowest speed just before entering the intersection, not while crossing.
  • Do not pass or change lanes while in an intersection.
  • Be aware of vehicles behind you. Will they be able to stop if neces­sary? If you are stopped, look for bicyclists and pedestrians who may be crossing the intersection from either direction or motorists on the cross street who may be passing a bicycle or other vehicle and be in the opposing lane.
Types of Intersections

Intersections range in type from a complicated expressway interchange to a simple, rural intersection that may have just a stop sign or a yield sign or maybe even nothing at all.  As a new driver, it is especially important for you to remember that there are different types of intersections, and understand that each one has its own rules.

  • 2-Way Intersection: This is when two one-way streets intersect. Remember to check both ways before proceeding.
  • T Intersection: The top of the “T” of the intersection has right-of-way. If that’s not you, wait until the road is clear before you turn right or left. If, however,  you’re at the top of the “T” —then whichever direction you’re going in, although you do have right of way, it’s still important to watch for any cars entering the intersection.
  • Y Intersection: When three roads meet, your duty is to slow down, scan for other vehicles and give the right-of-way to drivers who have it.

4-Way Intersection: This is when four lanes of traffic meet at the intersection. In such cases, the first driver to stop has the right-of-way. If two cars stop at the same time, the driver on the right goes first.

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  • Roundabouts: When multiple streets meet, instead of crossing one another, the streets form a circular lane of traffic known as a roundabout.  These structures have a proven track record of reducing intersection crashes and alleviating traffic congestion but they can be tricky for new drivers because they require a lot of careful attention and timing.  Most American drivers are not used to negotiating a roundabout but they are becoming more and more common in Nevada.

When you find that the road or street you have been riding on has a roundabout coming up, you should enter it in the same way as you would enter a freeway, that is, you must give right of way to those already moving on it.  Once you’re on, you need watch out for cars entering the roundabout, and be sure you know where you are going to exit. Do not stop or pass other cars and be sure to use your turn signal.

The following presents a diagram of how to navigate a roundabout in various scenarios:

  • Right of Way for Emergency Vehicle  

Drivers must yield the right-of-way to law enforcement vehicles, fire engines and other emergency vehicles using sirens and/ or flashing lights. When an emergency vehicle is approaching in either direction (either towards you from the other side of the road or from behind), you must pull over to the right edge of the roadway as soon as possible and immediately stop there, and remain until the emergency vehicle has passed. If you’re in th e middle of an intersection when you first see or hear the emergency vehicle, don’t stop in the intersection, but clear it first before pulling over.

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If you are driving and approach an emergency vehicle that is stopped with its flashing emergency lights activated, you should slow down and move into a travel lane that is not adjacent to where the emergency vehicle is stopped, if possible. This means that on a three lane road, if an emergency vehicle is stopped and displaying its flashing emergency lights in the far right travel lane, you should move to the far left lane – not the middle lane – until you can safely pass the emergency vehicle.

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If you are approaching an emergency vehicle traveling on a road ahead of you on the road with its emergency lights and siren activated, you should allow a following distance of at least 500 feet.

Stopped Emergency Vehicle

Drivers in Nevada have certain responsibilities when approaching a stopped emergency vehicle that is using its flashing lights. These duties apply to all types of emergency vehicles, including tow trucks.

In the absence of specific direction by a police officer on the scene, when approaching a stopped emergency vehicle you must slow down, proceed with caution, and if possible, change lanes to provide a one-lane gap between your car and the emergency vehicle.

Railroad Crossings

Many people don’t realize how dangerous railroad crossings can be. Approximately 500 people are killed each year in accidents involving passenger vehicles and trains, and more than 1,500 are injured. year in To put that in perspective, more people die in highway-rail crashes each year than in commercial airline crashes!

If you get in a collision with a train, you lose! Trains are extremely heavy and they may need a mile or more of track to come to a full stop. Even if the train conductor sees a car ahead on the tracks, there almost certainly isn’t enough time or distance for the train to slow down enough to avoid hitting the car.

That should be enough to convince you to always be cautious when driving across or near railroad crossings. Be alert! Some crossings have controls, flashers and gates that are clearly marked.  Other crossings, especially in rural areas, may not have flashers and gates – only signs.  You need to watch for crossings and be careful at all times when crossing.

Keep these things in mind with regards to trains:
  • A train can be on any track at any time and it can be traveling in either direction. This is important to note: just because you may have seen a train traveling the same direction at a particular stretch of track, does not mean it might be coming from the opposite direction next time. 
  • Trains are usually traveling faster than you think – Always yield to them as they will be unable to yield to you.
Here’s what you should do at a train crossing that has both barriers and flashing warning lights:
  1. Stop your car behind the pavement line at a safe distance from the crossing barriers.
  2. Do not try to cross under the barriers!
  3. Never, ever try to speed through before the barrier comes down if the lights are already flashing.
  4. Wait until the barriers are fully raised and the lights stop flashing after the train has gone before you drive across the tracks.
  5. Look both ways down the track to be sure the tracks are clear before you carefully cross them.
Here’s what you should do at a train crossing that has no barriers or lights but just has a sign (also known as an “open railway crossing”):
  1. Always treat open railway crossings as a stop sign! That means come to a complete stop
  2. Look both ways to be sure there isn’t a train coming
  3. Drive carefully across the tracks

Here are two additional and very important safety tips: Never race a train to the crossing! If your car stalls on train tracks while you are crossing, you must get out of the car immediately and move away from the tracks.   Do not try and restart your car until you have someone else who can wait outside the car and watch and warn for trains.

Also, be careful not to misjudge the train’s speed and distance. Large objects often appear to be going much slower than they really are. And remember, when crossing multiple tracks, after you have passed one track, wait to make sure another train is not coming from the other direction before you continue on.

School crossings, school buses and school zones

Always be on high alert when you are driving near a school zone or a school bus. Not only is that the safe and responsible thing to do, but failure to follow school bus rules can result in an expensive ticket –or much worse; an injured child.

When a school bus prepares to stop, it will flash an amber or red light about 500 feet before it comes to the bus stop. Once the bus is completely stopped, it activates both the alternate flashing red lights and the stop signal arm. These signals tell all traffic – both oncoming traffic and the traffic behind it— to come to a complete stop before they reach the bus. You must remain stopped until the bus driver turns off the red flashing signals. Do not pass the school bus. If you pass without stopping, the school bus driver may report you to the school district and the Department of Motor Vehicles. You’ll get a warning letter that explains the seriousness of this violation.

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This is serious business: Nevada law punishes drivers who pass a school bus that has stopped and is flashing its red lights. If you break this law, here’s what you can expect:
  • First Offense: The Department of Motor Vehicles will add four demerit points to your license and you will be fined between $250 and $500.
  • Second Offense (within one year): Your license will be suspended for six months and you will be fined between $250 and $500.
  • Third Offense (or more, within two years): Your license will be suspended for one year and you will be fined up to $1,000.

There are only a few exceptions where you don’t need to stop for a school bus that has stopped and is displaying its flashing red lights and stop signal arm. On highways with separate, divided roadways, you do not need to stop:

  • When meeting or overtaking a school bus on a different roadway.
  • For a school bus that is going in the opposite direction on a highway containing four or more lanes of traffic.
  • For a school bus that has stopped at a school loading zone, where students are not permitted to cross the roadway.

Once the driver has turned off the flashing lights, be sure to watch for children. They may not be aware of the dangers represented by the cars around them. They need you to look out for them, not the other way around.

Also remember to be very careful around school zones. A school zone is an area near a school that includes streets next to the school or school property. Other areas where students cross the street to get to school may also be marked as school zones.  You will know if you are approaching either type of zone because they are normally marked with signs, signals, pavement markings, and sometimes yellow flashing lights. This is your cue to slow down.

School zones have reduced speed limits. In Nevada, the speed limit in school zones is 15 miles per hour, while it is 25 miles per hour in school crossing zones. Unless otherwise posted, the reduced speed limit is in effect from half an hour before school begins to half an hour after school ends. Otherwise the regular speed limit is in effect. Nevada school zones will post a sign telling you that the speeds posted are in effect when “children are present” and during school hours.

When at a school crossing zone, you must wait for everyone, including the school crossing guard, to completely clear the road before proceeding. You must also obey school crossing guards.

School police are real police. They often have the authority to issue traffic tickets on streets that are adjacent to school property. They are there to protect children, school staff, and school property. Whenever you are near a school, you should slow down!

Changing lanes, overtaking and passing

You should always use a great deal of care when changing lanes, especially on multiple lane roads and highways. Always signal your intent to change lanes, then double check and look. Here’s the sequence:

  • Turn on your signal
  • Check the lane ahead (where you want to drive)
  • Look in your rearview mirror
  • Look in your side mirror
  • Check your blind spot

Make sure you give yourself enough space so that you can quickly move back into your original space in the lane you just left if something unexpected happens – because sometimes it does! When you are passing a car on a multiple lane road or highway, always pass on the left – Nevada law requires it. Do not move back into the right lane until you are a safe distance ahead of the car that you passed. You’ll know it’s safe to move back into the right lane when you can fully see the headlights of the car you just passed in your rearview mirror. Even so, double-check your side mirror and blind spot again before moving over.

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Driving on the Right Side of the Roadway

All vehicles must be driven on the right side of the roadway unless passing another vehicle.

Passing Vehicles on the Left

If you want to pass another vehicle that is traveling in the same direction as you, you must pass to the left of that vehicle at a safe distance, and may not move back to the right side of the roadway until your  car can safely clear the passed vehicle.

Turns
  • Right turns: If you want to turn right at an intersection, you must be in the far right lane. This is true for your approach to the intersection and for the turn itself. If there is a designated right turn lane, you must use that lane to approach and turn right.

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  • Left turns: If you want to turn left at an intersection, you must approach your turn in the lane closest to the centerline. If there is no arrow, then when the circular light turns green, you may enter the intersection, but you must yield to oncoming traffic. Keep your wheels straight while you are waiting. and turn  them only when the way is clear.

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  • U-turns: You can make a U-turn wherever it is authorized.  Signs should indicate when U-turns are prohibited. A U-turn generally may be made on any road where the turn can be made safely, except in a business district, or unless it is at an intersection or on a divided highway where an appropriate opening or crossing place already exists

You cannot make a U-turn on a curve or crest of a grade if your car can’t be seen within 500 feet by other cars that are approaching from the either direction.

Following too closely

Nevada law prohibits vehicles from following the vehicle in front of them more closely than is “reasonable and prudent.” As you will learn in the module on defensive driving, the phrase “reasonable and prudent” Is generally interpreted as at least a 3-second following distance in optimal conditions. Following too closely is the leading cause of rear-end traffic accidents, which is the title of the violation you will likely be issued a citation for— if you are at fault in a rear-end collision.

Signaling

Using your turn signals (also called “blinkers”) to tell others that you are going to turn, slow down, stop or park is not just common courtesy. In Nevada, it is the law.

Every driver must signal his or her intention when turning right or left or when changing lanes.  You must signal continuously for at least 100 feet before a turn or lane change when driving on city streets, and 300 feet ahead on open highways.. This rule must be observed at all times, regardless of the weather, and even if you don’t see any other cars or pedestrians. Failure to do so is a ticketable offense.

Hand Signals

When you depress your brake pedal, your brake lights go on, and that’s how you signal to other drivers behind you – as required by Nevada law – that you are decreasing your speed. You may use hand signals if you do not have working turn lights and/or brake lights but they must be used consistently for all stops, braking and turns.

If you do find yourself in a situation where you need to use hand signals, you’ll extend your arm outside the window on the driver’s ide of the car. Here are the key hand signals and what they indicate:

  • Right turn: Extend your hand and arm upward
  • Stop or decrease speed: Extend your hand and arm downward
  • Left turn: Extend your hand and arm horizontally
Duty to stop, give reasonable assistance and report accidents

Your duty as a driver doesn’t just extend to carefully transporting yourself and your passengers. You have a duty to stop at the scene of an accident involving personal injury or death.  If you are the driver of a car involved in an accident that resulted in injury or death, you must immediately stop your vehicle at the scene of the accident.

Do not leave! You need to remain at the scene and give any information required by emergency personal and law enforcement and provide any assistance needed. If any person is injured or requests medical treatment, you are expected to provide reasonable assistance, such as bringing the person to a doctor or hospital, or calling for an ambulance to take them.

If no police officer is present, you should report the accident to the nearest police station or to the Nevada Highway Patrol.

The consequences of leaving the scene of an accident can be harsh. A person failing to comply with this law is guilty of a category B felony, which is punishable by a minimum term of not less than two years in a state prison.  The maximum sentence is 15 years.  In addition, fines of between $2,000 and $5,000 are charged.

As a driver, you also have to stop at the scene of an accident (in which you were involved) that didn’t cause injury or death, but did result in damage to another vehicle or property. If this happens, you must Immediately stop the vehicle at the scene of the accident, and if possible, move the vehicle(s)
so they do not obstruct traffic, and then return to the scene of the accident to give information and render assistance.

Whether the accident you are involved in is serious or just a “fender-bender,” you are required to stop, render aid if necessary, and always to provide information. You must give your name, address and the registration number of the car you were driving and your driver license and insurance information to the other driver(s).

Nevada law states that all crashes which involve injuries or damages of $750 or more must be reported to the Department of Motor Vehicles. If a police officer does not arrive at the scene to investigate the accident, all of the involved parties must file reports on DMV Form SR-1 within 10 days.

If you damage an unattended vehicle or other property while driving, you must immediately stop, locate and then notify the owner.  If necessary, you can write a note and attach it to a conspicuous place in or on the vehicle or property. Be sure to include your name and address on the note.

You also should immediately notify the police of any accident you caused that involved an unattended vehicle or other property.  If you are physically unable to make the report yourself, other passengers who were in your vehicle at the time are allowed do it for you.

Parking rules

It’s not just about the driving. Safe and responsible drivers pay attention to how and where they park. For one thing, you need to make sure you park your car in such a way that it does not roll away – such as on a steep hill. You also need to make sure your parked car does not get in the way of traffic or the path of pedestrians. Don’t forget to check posted signs to make sure you are even allowed to park in a particular spot in the first place!

And parking isn’t always free – if parking fees are posted you want to make sure you pay them. If you don’t park in accordance with parking regulations, you may find yourself with a parking ticket or worse – paying to get your car out of the impound lot after it’s been towed. That’s expensive!

If you park in an angled space, make sure you use your turn signal and slow down in preparation for parking. Additionally:

  • make sure the rear of your car clears the other parked cars
  • center your car in the space – you don’t want to be too far to the right or left
  • When backing out of a parking space, go slowly, double check and yield for all other traffic and pedestrians
Parking on a Hill:

Practice parking on hills with little or no traffic. At first, park in areas without other parked vehicles. If you are unable to practice parking on hills in your area, practice on a flat road and discuss the procedures for parking on hills. 

If you park facing downhill, pull up close to the curb, set the emergency brake, and turn your wheels toward the curb

If you park facing uphill, pull up close to the curb, set the emergency brake, and turn your wheels away from the curb

If you park facing uphill or downhill and there isn’t a curb, turn your wheels toward the edge of the road

Parallel Parking:

Parallel parking does take some practice for new drivers and it does play an important role on the Nevada driving test. When first learning to parallel park, you should find an open parking lot and try to avoid parking between cars until you become proficient. After you you become proficient at parallel parking, you can practice in quiet neighborhoods without a lot of traffic. Also, the Nevada DMV allows you to practice parallel parking at their facilities, using their parallel parking barrels, during non-business hours.

Here are the steps involved with parallel parking:

1. Check traffic and signal your intention to park. Pull approximately 2-3 feet away from and parallel to the vehicle ahead of the space you want to park in.

2. Keep in mind that as you back into your spot, the front of the vehicle will swing out into the travel lane. Because of this, you must check traffic first. Put your vehicle in reverse and if it is clear, turn the wheel sharply to the right and beging backing up.

3. While backing, with the wheel turned sharply, quickly straighten the wheel as your front door passes the rear bumper and continue in reverse.

4. As the front of your vehicle clears the vehicle in front of you, sharply turn the wheel sharply to the left and continue backing.

5. Shift the vehicle into drive and position your vehicle in the center of the space.

6. Shift into park, turn off the engine and set the parking brake.

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