Are you planning a trip to Las Vegas? It could be the time of your life if you’re crossing off a bucket list destination or trying to see what all the fuss is about.
Most tourists that hit the Strip don’t bother driving. It’s expensive and a hassle to rent a car. But if you’re going to be in Vegas for a while, and you do intend to get behind the wheel of a vehicle, it can be quite an experience.
Driving in Vegas has its own set of rules, both official and implied. Before you get on the roads in Sin City, check out these four tips so you can be prepared.
1. Learn the Laws of Vegas
Every state has its own set of laws. The majority of them are similar: Don’t speed, follow the posted signs, stop at red lights, and never drive impaired. Nevada has a few extra intricacies you should be aware of, though.
For instance, if you’re on the highway, expect to see speed limits of 70 – 75 mph. Those can drop fast once you hit the Vegas area, and if you’re not paying attention, the speeding citations are expensive.
Because drunk driving is common in Vegas, law enforcement officers are always looking for telltale signs. If you’re swerving a little, skipped using your turn signal, or committed one of the dozens of other infractions, don’t be surprised if you get pulled over randomly.
If they suspect you’ve been drinking, you could be asked to take a field sobriety test. A blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 nets you a DUI charge. That’s about four drinks, which are free for gamblers in the Vegas casinos. Keep track of your drinks, and don’t drive until you are completely sober.
2. Have Your Documents on Hand
Any vehicle you’re driving should have a valid registration and tag, whether your own or a rental. Check to make sure the information is easily accessible if you’re in an accident or get pulled over.
In addition to the car’s documentation, you also need to have your license and insurance card on hand. “I left it at home,” or other excuses aren’t enough to get you out of a ticket.
To show you had a valid license or insurance policy, you’ll likely have to take the proof to the courthouse and hope the judge drops the citation.
3. Study the Roads Before You Drive
GPS is a fantastic marvel of technology. It can take you anywhere on the map you want to go, even if you have no idea where you are.
The problem with GPS is that those audible turns are usually at the last second, and you have to take your eyes off the road to see the visuals. Half a second is all it takes to get in an accident with the bumper-to-bumper traffic in Vegas.
Plan Your Route and Parking
Go ahead and use your GPS’s mapping feature to plan your route—before you get on the road. Familiarize yourself with the street names you’ll be utilizing and find the nearest parking options to your destination.
Vegas parking is a valuable commodity, hard to come by, and highly in-demand. If you’re going to someplace you have never been to before, figure out what parking areas are nearby.
Restaurants, hotels, and casinos may have valet parking for free or as cheap as a parking garage. Check the website or call ahead and ask for their parking suggestions. You won’t be the first one to do so.
4. Plan for Emergencies
Emergencies happen. They’re never “easy,” but they go a lot easier if you’ve prepared for them.
Find out the local law enforcement phone numbers and plug them into your phone. The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department fields 911 calls in Vegas and Clark County.
You can call or text them in an emergency, such as a fire or serious crash. However, if it’s a non-threatening car accident, call law enforcement, not the 911 line.
Ensure your emergency contact information is attached to your driver’s license, and memorize at least one important phone number if you lose your cell phone.
No one plans to be in an emergency. Still, planning for one can be life-saving.
A trip to Vegas is something you’ll remember forever, yet, you don’t want it to be because of a horrible driving experience. Use these tips to drive like a Vegas pro—but better.