Readers have made it abundantly clear: Some Las Vegas motorists are in need of a driver’s education refresher class.
Reports of violations of basic driving rules and laws flood my inbox and phone line weekly, ranging from right-of-way dilemmas to issues regarding school zones.
Review-Journal reader Michael McNair called to rant about a driver passing him in a school zone, wondering whether the offending motorist knew that doing so is not only dangerous but also illegal.
So in case it’s been a while since you had a driver’s education course, or you simply aren’t sure what is legal, a refresher course is never a bad idea.
Here are some of the most commonly misinterpreted laws, as provided by the Nevada Department of Public Safety. Note: These are state laws, and individual jurisdictions’ laws may vary.
You’re about to enter a freeway, only to discover another vehicle already occupying the lane. Who has the right of way?
Sorry, but the vehicle already on the highway has the rights to that space.
State law says the driver of a vehicle about to enter or exit a controlled-access highway shall yield the right of way to all vehicles approaching on the highway.
Of course, if you’re on the highway and see another vehicle wanting to merge, you could give it some space and let it in.
With children and pedestrians scattered throughout school zones, adhering to the rules of the road is important around area schools.
During applicable hours, always follow posted speed limits in school zones, where fines are double, and be sure to maintain your travel lane at all times. U-turns and passing are prohibited. If a driver is found to be the cause of a crash with a pedestrian or a bicyclist, increased fines will be assessed.
Slow drivers, move over
Drivers who travel in the far left lanes of highways must maintain a speed on par with the posted speed limit. Those going so slowly that they impede traffic are required to move to the far right lane.
On a highway that has one travel lane in each direction where passing is unsafe because of traffic traveling in the opposite direction or other conditions, slow drivers must pull off the road in a safe spot to let motorists pass if five or more vehicles build up behind them.
Yielding to stopped school bus
Drivers are required to stop for school buses when students are boarding and departing and when the bus is displaying its flashing red lights.
On divided roads with a raised median or other physical barriers, traffic moving in the opposite direction of the bus does not have to stop. But as always, keep the safety of the students in mind and monitor the area for precautionary reasons before proceeding.
Everyone’s favorite game of whose turn is it to go, played daily at four-way stops around the valley, doesn’t have to be that difficult.
If two drivers arrive at a four-way stop at the same time, they must first come to a complete stop and yield to pedestrians. After coming to a complete stop, the driver of the vehicle on the left shall yield the right of way to the vehicle on the right, according to state law.
Blinking yellow turn arrow
Increasingly, motorists seem to be confused when encountering a flashing yellow arrow while in the left turn lane of an intersection. Some drivers don’t make an effort to turn when it’s safe until they’re honked at.
Nevada law states that the flashing yellow arrow means a vehicle can enter an intersection to make the turn indicated by the arrow. The driver must yield to oncoming traffic and pedestrians behind the stop line, then proceed with caution.
Boulder Highway bridge work
A $2.45 million bridge reconstruction project on Boulder Highway over northbound Interstate 11 will kick off next week in Henderson.
Crews will start on the project Monday, working from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday through Aug. 18, the Nevada Department of Transportation announced last week.
The two-lane, 204-foot-long bridge is being demolished and rebuilt with a new concrete cast-in-place box girder structure because of damage from soil settling.
The I-11 northbound exit ramp to Boulder Highway will be closed during construction, with traffic being rerouted onto College Drive. Wagonwheel Drive is another suggested alternative route.
Motorists can expect lane restrictions in both directions along Boulder Highway between Horizon Drive and Wagonwheel Drive, with a reduced speed limit of 35 miles per hour through the construction zone.
Additionally, left turns from Calle Bonita onto southbound Boulder Highway will be prohibited during construction.