These Vegas freeway angels can’t accept tips

In Las Vegas, we’re quick to tip.

It’s part of the local culture to show our appreciation for exemplary service, and we do it all the time at restaurants, at casino tables and in valet parking lines.

When traveling, it isn’t uncommon to leave a little extra to the staff that takes care of our hotel rooms.

But there’s someone out there you might want to tip, but shouldn’t.

From Warrior Reader Don, who had a guardian angel on a local freeway:

“While changing a shredded tire on U.S. Highway 95 on a recent morning, one of the freeway patrol vehicles parked behind me and helped. The driver got the job done faster than I would have, and I sure appreciated the flashing yellow lights on his truck. Afterward, I thanked him. Later, my wife asked if I tipped him. Would it have been proper to do so? I am a tipper, believing that it rewards good work and encourages good service in the future, as well as helping people who usually don’t make big salaries.”

Don was assisted by representatives of the Nevada Transportation Department’s Freeway Service Patrol or Incident Response Vehicle programs.

The purpose of the programs is to improve highway safety on heavily traveled urban freeways by reducing the time required to move objects that can disrupt traffic flow. They respond to stalled vehicles, debris on the road and minor accidents.

Drivers are trained. They are certified in community first aid and by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence.

The Freeway Service Patrol also assists first responders with law enforcement, fire and emergency medical service as well as towing and recovery professionals.

They patrol Interstate 15 and U.S. 95 at various times of the day, seven days a week. Incidentally, there’s a similar program provided by the state on Interstates 80 and 580 in Reno.

They are definitely a big help when traffic is whizzing past. And many of us would love to show our appreciation with a tip.

But drivers can’t accept them.

Nevada Highway Patrol trooper Loy Hixson, who works with drivers of both programs, said they are prohibited from accepting gratuities.

“It’s a free service provided by the state, but no, they can’t accept tips,” Hixson said. “Their objective is to remove problems from the road as quickly as they can.”

So appreciate them. Thank them. But don’t tip them.

Safest city to drive

Allstate Insurance last week came out with its list of the nation’s 200 safest cities to drive in the United States, based on the company’s claims data.

For the second year in a row, Fort Collins, Colo., was named the safest city in Allstate’s 10th annual report.

A Nevada city has been in the top 10 for four out of the past five years — but it’s not around here.

Reno checked in at No. 17, falling from No. 6, the highest it had ever been on the list, in 2013.

Las Vegas came in at No. 123, up seven places from its No. 130 ranking a year ago. According to Allstate, motorists in Las Vegas are 15.4 percent more likely to be in an accident than the average American motorist. On average, Las Vegas motorists have 8.7 years pass between accident claims.

Henderson had the best Southern Nevada performance on the list, ranking 57th. That’s two slots up from its No. 59 listing in 2013. Motorists there have a 0.9 percent greater chance of being in an accident than the average motorist, and on average, it’s 9.9 years between accidents.

The lowest-ranking Nevada city is North Las Vegas, listed at No. 130. It fell from No. 118 a year ago. North Las Vegans are 17.4 percent more likely to be in an accident than the average motorists, and it’s 8.5 years between accidents on average.

By comparison, No. 1 Fort Collins motorists are 29.6 percent less likely to be in an accident than the average motorists, and the average length of time between accidents for Fort Collins residents is 14.2 years.

3 feet for pete

Southern Nevada bicyclists are calling attention to Nevada’s 3 Feet Law, the buffer zone motorists are required to give bicyclists when sharing the road.

Pete Makowski, an exceptional athlete known as a conscientious and safe bicyclist who often would go out of his way to avoid roads he considered unsuitable for safe riding, lost his life while riding June 19.

Local supporters are planning a “3 Feet for Pete” ride at 7 a.m. Saturday south of Las Vegas.

Registration begins at 6 a.m., and organizers are asking for a $20 entry fee for participants, with proceeds going to building awareness for the law and educating riders and drivers about bicycling safety.

The event starts and ends at Camping World in Sloan, 13175 Las Vegas Blvd. South.

The 16-mile short course will take riders out and back 8 miles, while the long course will go 14 miles to the Jean gasoline station. The route will be closed to auto traffic, and marshals will assist on the flat-to-rolling paved route.

The event isn’t a race — but there will be competition. Prizes will be awarded to three riders of the most visible bike and rider combination. Organizers are encouraging entrants to “go nuts” with lighting, high-visibility colors and anything that calls attention to the bike.

Participants who will get a 3 Feet for Pete wristband must sign a waiver to ride with the group.

Questions and comments should be sent to Please include your phone number. Follow the Road Warrior on Twitter @RJroadwarrior.

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