One might think that if you are wandering around in the middle of nowhere in your car, minding your own business that there may not be any rules to follow. Although things might look like the wild west, the rules of the road in Nevada still apply. If you are caught violating these NRS, you could get a traffic ticket. Nevada is a unique state as it has two large city centers, Las Vegas and Reno, and is very desolate everywhere else.
It’s a very big state too. Venturing out just a few miles from the city centers though and one can find themselves surrounded by desert solitude. Sandstone cliffs, deep canyons, and even canopy forests can be found throughout the state.
If you find yourself on a mountain highway, please note that there is a Nevada Revised Statute that pertains to that type of driving (of course there is!). NRS 484B.120 was written as a guideline for driving on canyons, defiles, and those mountainous roadways.
What NRS 484B.120 Says
It reads as follows:
NRS 484B.120 Driving on defiles, canyons or mountain highways. The driver of a motor vehicle traveling through defiles or canyons or on mountain highways shall hold such motor vehicle under control and as near the right-hand edge of the highway as reasonably possible.
We like how it specifically states that drivers must stay on the right-hand side of the roadway as reasonably possible. Of course, all drivers in the United States are taught to drive on the right-hand side so surely this would be no different when driving in the mountains, right? Well, depending on whether or not guard rails are present or if there is a big drop off might change your behavior.
As the statute reads, stay on the edge of the highway on the right-hand side as “reasonably possible”. That is very subjective because what one driver thinks is reasonable might differ from another. The main takeaway is to stay on the right side and don’t hog the middle.
Mountain roads can be curvy and have steep inclines so sometimes visibility with oncoming cars is not great. That is why it is so important to not drive in the middle of the road and to literally stay in your lane. If you are driving in the middle because you are afraid of the drop off to your right and are rounding a curve, you will not allow for a lot of time for you or a driver of an oncoming automobile to make the necessary changes to prevent a head-on collision.
Whether you are in an accident on a high mountain road or just cited a violation for not adhering to NRS 484B.120 then you should contact our legal team at Ticket Busters. We will help you with your case and as previously suggested, there is a lot of ambiguity and subjectivity with this Nevada statute so don’t get stuck holding a ticket without legal assistance.
How This NRS Gets Implemented
Who will cite you though if you are in violation? This is a common question because most people believe that law enforcement is not present in the outskirts of towns or in mountainous regions.
Well, that is just not true. Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD) has resident officers that are assigned to these specific areas. These officers report to the Northwest Area Command (NWAC) which is located near Cheyenne Ave. and the 2-15 highway.
The substation opened in December of the year 2008. The area command handles all calls in the residential communities in the outskirts of the Northwest part of Las Vegas to include Indian Springs, Creech Air Force Base and the ever-popular Mount Charleston area. There are resident officers stationed at Mount Charleston so if you are driving there and not following the road rules then they could cite you.
Popular highways are in the area as well including two that must be used for those coming to the area from Las Vegas or beyond. Highway jurisdictions would be handled by the Nevada Highway Patrol (NPH).
Watch Out for Wildlife
Other popular areas that include canyons, cliffs and mountain highways are the towns of Overton, Mesquite, Boulder City and Logandale. The Desert National Wildlife Refuge or DNWR is also very popular. This area was designated a wildlife refuge to protect the desert bighorn sheep which is the state animal of Nevada.
President Franklin Delano Roosevelt designated the area in the 1930’s. Regardless of what type of environment you are driving in, any time you are in a rural area you must also be cognizant of wildlife on the roadway.
This is another reason to change your driving over to the center of the road which again is in violation of the statute. Animals most commonly hit in Nevada include deer, elk, coyotes, foxes, badgers and sometimes even a mountain lion. Of course, if you are driving (especially in the morning or at night) and an animal enters the road, if you are driving in the middle, it gives you more time to properly react. But it is also very dangerous and can cause accidents that could impact humans.
Avoid Getting Cited for NRS 484B.120
The best thing to do if driving on a mountain highway is to slow down, shift into a low gear and stay on the right-hand side just like you are supposed to. By doing so, you can prevent accidents with oncoming cars and can also be assured you are not in violation of the NRS pertaining to driving on defiles, canyons and mountain highways.
Lee Canyon Road is also known as State Route 156. Located in Clark County, it is one of two roadways that connect Highway 95 to the Mount Charleston area. It boasts the designation of a Nevada Scenic Byway and is quite popular with the residents of Henderson, Boulder City and Las Vegas in all months of the year. The summertime is much cooler with the high elevations inviting residents a break from the scorching heat. And the winter can oftentimes look like a winter wonderland as the area sees quite a bit of snow. Snow sledding, snowman making and even skiing can be found in the area. Yes, there is an actual ski resort located on the mountain that is less than an hour from the Las Vegas Strip.
Kyle Canyon Road is the other one that connects US Hwy 95 to the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest. From the highway, it heads west to the top of its namesake canyon. Low desert, similar to the ecotone of Las Vegas is how the road starts but then climbs through numerous other zones with variant vegetation to include cactus, Joshua trees, and finally ponderosa pine trees.
Although it is a safe drive, many of the tourists and even residents of Las Vegas are not experienced drivers for the mountains. Speeds can pick up very quickly when descending a mountain or hill and often times inexperienced drivers will ride their brakes instead of downshifting. This, coupled with the many curves can make for a dangerous situation. Drivers following need to take caution but most importantly those driving in the opposite direction need to stay alert.
When a driver’s automobile is moving quickly and gaining speed due to heading downhill, the initial reaction is to drive in the middle of the road that way they have more room to maneuver if necessary. It also helps to be in the middle when handling turns. This of course though is not only dangerous but goes against the law of NRS 484B.120.
If caught driving like this you will most likely be issued a ticket by the NHP or LVMPD. There have been many accidents on these roads and others just like it. Many are one-car accidents where the driver was going too fast and could not properly navigate a turn. Other car wrecks involve multiple vehicles and are tragic in depth.
Always be sure to drive safely, and slowly and follow all necessary traffic laws in Nevada. Doing so could save your life or someone else’s.
Another common area that is similar to Mt. Charleston is highway 160 which travels from Las Vegas to Pahrump and vice versa. Fortunately, this road has been expanded beyond the old-fashioned two-lane road which allows for safer travel. The mountain pass, however, can be treacherous for the same reasons listed above. There are steep grades, wildlife and inclement weather due to the high elevations. When driving this road or any other mountain highway take note of the NRS to ensure you are not cited for violating it.
The legal professionals found at Ticket Busters are second to none. We’ve been serving the Las Vegas community for decades and can assist in any of your traffic or criminal needs. If you’ve been in an accident whether significant or not there will be things to do on your end that include possible court appearances, ticket fines, demerit points, traffic school, etc… You will want help in these matters so reach out to us today.