It’s easy to find reasons to complain about cars on the road that aren’t your own.
In the words of George Carlin, “anybody driving slower than you is an idiot, and anyone going faster than you is a maniac.”
If that’s the case, you’ll find plenty of each in a valley of 2 million people.
Here are just 10 things you’ll only understand if you’re a Las Vegas driver:
1. Having to deal with the weird habits of every state’s drivers
A big chunk of the 2 million people who live here didn’t learn to drive here. Add to that the 40 million visitors we get every year, and it’s a wonder we survive on the roads at all.
Nevada plates? Watch for the longest following distance you’ve ever seen. Utah plates? Be prepared to be run over if you’re actually going the speed limit. California plates? Just assume they’re always trying to change lanes, because you’ll never see a signal.
2. Driving down the Resort Corridor and having to slow for tourists
Everyone likes to slow down to see the Strip — unless you drive past it every day on your way to work.
While tourists are slowing to 55 to try to catch a glimpse of their hotel, we’re more focused on getting around them. There are plenty of better places to get a view of the Las Vegas skyline, after all.
3. Realizing there’s no way you can avoid taking an exit anywhere near the Spaghetti Bowl
Maybe this hits close to home at the RJ because it’s literally close to home for us, but a morning commute that ends with taking MLK off the 95 is rarely a good start to the day.
Add a couple fender-benders to the usual traffic and you just tripled your 20-minute commute.
4. Construction on the Spaghetti Bowl
No one likes dealing with construction, and admittedly drivers in every state will complain about it. But driving through the Spaghetti Bowl on a Monday morning is its own special brand of misery, and of course we all like to think we’re unique in our suffering.
Have you ever sat on an off-ramp for 20 minutes, only to get to the bottom and not even find an accident? You’re not alone.
5. When your destination is on the opposite side of the Strip from you
There’s nothing worse than being in a hurry and realizing your destination is on the other side of the Strip.
“Well, maybe if I take the 215 and just backtrack a few minutes, it will be faster …”
It won’t be. You can either go a roundabout way to end up directly east of where you started, or just suck it up and cross the Strip while thinking about all the bad decisions that led you to this point.
6. Traffic getting worse on the 15 the later it gets, instead of better
In most places, you wouldn’t expect to be just as likely to hit a traffic jam at 9 p.m. as you are at 5 p.m. But Las Vegas isn’t most places, and between gawking tourists and tourists who know where they’re going, but that place just happens to be the Strip, you’re going to spend some time looking at the Las Vegas lights as you inch toward Trop.
7. Having to go out in the rain … ever
Do you remember what rain feels like? Maybe not, considering Thursday marked 50 days with no rain in Las Vegas.
When it finally does rain, none of us are in for a good time. The mixture of oil on the roads and drivers who aren’t used to propelling massive hunks of metal through the mess means everyone has to be more careful — but of course there’s always that one person driving behind you who doesn’t seem to notice the buckets of precipitation falling from the sky.
8. Getting used to planning for U-turns before you even get to your destination
Concrete medians are everywhere.
We’ve all gotten used to having to turn in the opposite direction of where we want to go, just to make a U-turn, but that doesn’t make it any less annoying not to be able to turn left when there’s no traffic, only to get stuck at the longest red light that’s ever happened.
9. Getting stuck behind a Deuce and realizing you’re never going to escape the right lane
Occasionally you luck out and the road has a wide shoulder or a bus lane.
Most of the time, though, if you make the mistake of following a bus, you’re in for a frustrating commute.
You’re going to stop at every bus stop, and the cars that had the foresight not to be the first car behind the bus will be zooming by quickly enough that you can’t sneak into their lane.
To be fair to the bus, it has to make stops, and you should have known better than to stick yourself behind it if you were in a hurry.
10. Everyone in the valley always seems to be heading south
You’d think eventually all of these people heading south on the 15 would have to head north again, but that doesn’t seem to be the case.
Southbound I-15 is always at a standstill in the morning as those of us lucky enough to be heading north fly by at normal freeway speeds (until we hit the Spaghetti Bowl, of course).
Somehow it’s the same story in the evening. And at lunchtime and in the middle of the afternoon. How is there anyone left north of Charleston to even drive south?