One of the only unfortunate things about the start of the year is the holiday drought that follows.
No days off, no long weekend trips, no holiday pay for months.
So what do we do? Resort to our guilty pleasures. The Hallmark movies, ice cream flavors fit for a kindergartner and bad ’80s music keeps us distracted from the monotony that becomes life until Memorial Day.
For me, it’s “Ice Road Truckers.” I binge on the dangers of semi-trailer drivers hauling multi-ton flatbeds over frozen rivers and lakes. So I got excited when Ray wrote in with a semi-trailer question.
“I’m writing in response to the latest incidents involving big rig trucks and motorists on Nevada highways. I travel to and from work at UNLV along I-15 daily, and during the course of my travels I am amazed that big rig trucks are allowed to drive in the high-speed, middle and express travel lanes without impedance, usually at speeds well below the speed limit. This creates a hazardous situation for motorists who are forced to pass slower-moving trucks.”
This is an interesting question, and one that might not necessarily have a right answer. Nevada Department of Transportation spokesman Damon Hodge gave it a try anyway.
“There are no differential speed limits in Nevada concerning cars vs. trucks,” he said.
Commercial vehicles — CMVs — do drive slower than the speed limit sometimes, Ray. However, Hodge explained that CMVs driving only in the slow lane could cause major delays for vehicles trying to enter the freeway.
“It could really gum-up the freeway system in urban areas, prompting some motorists to take unsafe chances upon entering the freeway (darting in front of CMVs) or unsafely maneuvering behind them.”
Not the answer you’re looking for, Ray, but in this case, I don’t think there’s really a good solution. Those trucks are there, and sometimes they’re not fast, but it’s all just about the flow of traffic.
Hodge also fielded our next question of the week, sent by Jerry.
“Many drivers traveling east on Flamingo to get on the 15 southbound are in the far right lane. However this lane on Flamingo ends before the on ramp at the Rio, forcing them to make an abrupt lane change to the left.”
It’s always frustrating when a lane ends — or even worse, suddenly becomes a turn lane.
Luckily, the transportation department readily agreed to see if there’s a problem.
“A traffic safety review will take place; results will be forthcoming in the future (months) and results, data and funding will determine next steps.”
There you have it, Jerry.
And last but not least, the Road Warrior’s Reminder from Nevada Highway Patrol. This one goes back to the first question this week, about traffic flow.
Nevada Revised Statutes 484B.127: following too closely.
■ When driving, don’t follow another vehicle more closely than is reasonable. Take into account the speed of other vehicles around you and the condition of the highway.
■ If you are driving a truck or combination of vehicles 80 inches or more in overall width, and are following a truck, or combination of vehicles 80 inches or more in overall width, leave a space of 500 feet when conditions permit. This will leave room for another car to safely merge in between you and the vehicle you are following.
■ If you are driving a motor vehicle outside of a business district in a caravan or motorcade, whether or not towing other vehicles, allow sufficient space between each such vehicle or combination of vehicles so other cars can safely merge within your caravan.
So don’t tail the car in front of you. Leave room. It’s not too difficult and can save you the annoyance — or injury — of an accident if the car in front of you suddenly stops, crashes, or loses some of its cargo. Follow this law, and it should be smooth sailing.
If you have a question, tip or tirade, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Include your phone number.