It’s pretty easy to get distracted while driving.
Texts from friends or eating a quick lunch on the go can sometimes make the best of drivers swerve on the road.
Devices that are meant to assist motorists can sometimes become a hindrance.
Joseph from Las Vegas wanted to know why vehicle manufacturers install satellite-based navigation systems and other instruments onto dashboards, but drivers are cited for talking on cellphones or glancing at a text message.
“Aren’t those GPS systems also a distraction?” Joseph asked in an email to the Road Warrior.
Indeed, they are.
When you start your car, most navigation screens display a warning that it might be dangerous to check the screen while driving, Nevada Highway Patrol trooper Jason Buratczuk said.
“These systems could be a distraction, but this is when drivers need to take some personal responsibility by getting familiar with the car and the systems in it,” Buratczuk said. “Know your limitations and drive as safe as possible.”
Motorists distracted by navigation systems, eating, applying makeup, shaving or even chatting with passengers may be cited under Nevada’s “fail to pay full attention while driving” law, Buratczuk said.
And, of course, Nevada’s cellphone law requires drivers to pull to the side of the road or use a hands-free device.
“If you’re not on your cellphone, but an officer decides there are other distractions going on in the vehicle, the driver could still get fined,” Buratczuk said.
Anyone who’s taken a drive on the 215 Beltway through North Las Vegas can see a significant change in the road. Most of the Beltway has the same qualities of a freeway, until eastbound drivers hit Losee Road.
From there, motorists encounter traffic lights at Losee and Pecos roads, Lamb Boulevard and Range Road, where sections that serve as the highway will someday become the exit and entrance ramps.
Unfortunately, the Beltway has only been partially completed for quite some time in North Las Vegas because of the lack of development in that area.
Gerald from North Las Vegas wanted to know when that stretch will be upgraded to look like the rest of the Beltway winding through Summerlin and Henderson.
Clark County officials plan to seek bids later this year to complete that section of the Beltway, county spokesman Dan Kulin said. He did not say when construction would begin or end.
Carolyn from Las Vegas noticed that the street markings near Tropical Parkway and Jones Boulevard are so faded that the intersection has become dangerous to drive. A nearby crosswalk is maintained for students attending Lied Middle School, but “the rest of the road is ignored,” she said.
Tropical is scheduled to be repaved and restriped sometime this year between Jones and Decatur boulevards, Las Vegas spokeswoman Margaret Kurtz said.
Rich from Henderson said that lane markings using the raised, white bumps known as Botts’ Dots are “almost impossible” to see when driving at night along Eastern Avenue.
“With so many elderly drivers using that road in the evening, it is an extremely unsafe situation,” Rich said.
Given the width, speed and traffic volumes of Eastern, the street would need to be closed for a short time for repaving. Generally, pavement marking maintenance is also dealt with at that time, Henderson spokeswoman Kim Becker said.
The city plans a fix-up of Eastern between St. Rose Parkway and Coronado Center, but Becker said the work isn’t scheduled to begin until 2019.
Jerry from North Las Vegas noticed several lane reductions, but no road work activity for several weeks at Fifth Street and Lone Mountain Road. He wanted to know what’s planned for the area.
“This intersection is complicated,” North Las Vegas spokeswoman Delen Goldberg said.
There’s a long-term plan to move some utility conduits at the intersection, Goldberg said. In the near-term, the city plans to install a traffic signal for the intersection, with construction expected to start within a year.
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ROAD WORK AHEAD
— Commerce Street is restricted between Wyoming Avenue and Main Street through Tuesday for road improvements.
— The northbound U.S. Highway 95 exit ramp to Rancho Drive will be closed through June 21 for work associated with Project Neon.
— Martin Luther King Boulevard is closed between Oakey Boulevard and Interstate 15 through July. Crews are installing drainage boxes.
— Oakey Boulevard is closed between Main and Commerce streets through July. Crews are installing underground utilities and storm drain infrastructure.
— Washington Avenue is restricted between Martin Luther King Boulevard and Rancho Drive through Aug. 1. Crews are installing gas lines.
— Ninth Street is closed between Carson Avenue and Main Street through Dec. 31 for sewer work.
— U.S. Highway 95 will be restricted between Rancho Road and just east of Interstate 15 through January 2018. Crews are building a new flyover ramp for high-occupancy vehicles as part of Project Neon.
— Sections of Bonneville Avenue, Charleston Boulevard, Grand Central Parkway and Martin Luther King Boulevard will have closed or disrupted lanes surrounding the Spaghetti Bowl as crews work on Project Neon through July 2018.
— The eastbound 215 Beltway ramp to Airport Connector will be closed from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. daily through Friday. Crews are building a new flyover ramp and bridge.
— The Sunset Avenue ramp from the eastbound 215 Beltway to Airport Connector will be closed from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. daily through Friday. Crews are building a new flyover ramp and bridge.
— The ramp from Airport Connector to the eastbound 215 Beltway will be closed from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. daily through Friday. Crews are building a new flyover ramp and bridge.
— Nellis Boulevard will be restricted between Gowan and Craig roads through June 15. Crews are completing sewer work.
— Las Vegas Boulevard will be restricted between Nellis Boulevard and Puebla Street through June 15. Crews are completing sewer work.
— Warm Springs Road offramp from the eastbound 215 Beltway will be closed through June. Crews are building a new bridge over the highway.
— Rainbow Boulevard will be restricted in each direction between Hacienda Avenue and Sunset Road from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. until mid-June. Crews are repaving the road and adding a traffic lane.
— Summerlin Parkway’s westbound lanes will be restricted between Buffalo Drive and Rampart Boulevard through July. Crews are building a new auxiliary lane and making other improvements.
—The 13-mile scenic route at Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area will be repaved in one-mile increments through August.
The average gasoline price Friday in the Las Vegas Valley was $2.66 per gallon. It was $2.74 in Nevada. The national average of $2.37 is up 2 cents from a week ago, down 3 cents from a month ago and up 5 cents from a year ago.