Anyone that has driven through practically any part of rural Nevada knows that the highway system linking the old mining towns, and even the big cities, mostly consist of two-lane roads. In some spots, there are passing lanes but they are short-lived.
When we write that two-lane roads are prevalent, one must realize that we do not mean that there are two lanes going in the same direction. Two-lane highways mean that one lane is going in a certain direction and the other lane is going in the opposite direction. It doesn’t sound too bad but when driving through the desolate state on a long road trip it can be quite intimidating and stressful.
The reason is that although the speed limit in certain areas can be up to 75 miles per hour, not everyone drives that fast. This is especially true for big trucks or vehicles hauling trailers or boats. Also large, freight trucks including semis do not tend to travel as fast as passenger cars. Lastly, there are simply those drivers that just do not like to drive fast.
Well, when someone is driving slowly in the lane you are in what do you do especially when that is the only lane going in your direction?
The answer is you have to pass on the left-hand side where the oncoming traffic is coming and that is what makes for a stressful situation. Nevada Revised Statute (NRS) 484B.213 provides the guidelines for doing this legal maneuver. Although it goes against common sense and normal thinking, passing in the left-hand lane against oncoming traffic is legal if drivers stay within the written guidelines.
What Does NRS 484B.213 Say
The NRS reads as follows:
1. A vehicle must not be driven to the left side of the center of a two-lane, two-directional highway and overtaking and passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction, unless such left side is clearly visible and is free of oncoming traffic for a sufficient distance ahead to permit such overtaking and passing to be completely made without interfering with the safe operation of any vehicle approaching from the opposite direction or any vehicle overtaken.
Elected lawmakers in the state of Nevada drew up the statute in Carson City, most likely from their own experience of traveling the state, especially Highway 95, which links the cities of Reno and Las Vegas.
When Is Overtaking on the Left Side Allowed
The rules of this statute are basic and very straightforward, as it states that drivers must only pass a car in the left-hand (opposing) lane when there is ample room to do so.
This of course is very subjective because one driver’s idea of what is enough room might be much different than someone else. This might especially be true for the driver who is minding their own business driving down the highway only to see another car switch to the lane driving directly at them!
Because it can be subjective, if you are ever issued a ticket for passing someone without giving enough space then you should contact us at Ticket Busters for assistance. We can draft a variety of strategies to help get your ticket either reduced or possibly dropped completely.
As the statute also states, if you, by overtaking someone interfere with how the oncoming car is driving, then you are also at fault. So, when passing, even if the oncoming car has to simply tap on the brake because of your actions then you would be in violation of the statute.
Again though, this is difficult to prove so before you send in your check to the state of Nevada to cover your fine, you should seek out legal help. Our professional legal team at Ticket Busters is well-versed in all traffic laws within the state and can certainly help you in your situation.
When Should You Not Drive on the Left Side of the Highway
There is another section to NRS 484B.213 and it states the following:
2. A vehicle must not be driven to the left side of the highway at any time:
This aspect of the statute explains when passing on the left-hand side against oncoming traffic is not allowable and provides three different scenarios.
Approaching a Hill or Curve
The first one is when a car is approaching a hill or curve which would limit the visibility of the driver. So, if you are behind a slow-moving car and want to pass but there is a graded hill in your view or a curve, then you are not allowed to pass.
This makes perfect sense because although your viewpoints to the curve or hill might be clear, an oncoming car might be just beyond which could cause havoc for everyone in the area if you did decide to pass.
Approaching an Intersection
The second example is when a car is approaching an intersection or railroad crossing.
Again, this was sensible for Carson City lawmakers to include in the statute as it would be quite dangerous for a car to try and pass another when there is a crossing ahead.
Similar to the other scenario, things might look clear at first glance but once someone commits to passing, things could change where a car out of current view could reach the intersection which would again potentially cause some issues.
The law is specific to state that one cannot pass when they are within 1,000 feet of an intersection or train crossing.
Approaching a Bridge or Tunnel
The third and final example written in the NRS is when there is a bridge, tunnel, or viaduct.
These obstructions could impact the viewpoints of a driver so that is why they are mentioned. Just like with railroad crossings and intersections, the law is specific to how far away these obstructions need to be before halting the passing move.
Per NRS 484B.213, one hundred feet is the measurement used for not being able to pass when there is one of the obstructions previously listed.
When there are specifics listed in a statute such as the 100 ft or 1,000 ft, then that is what Nevada Highway Patrol (NPH) will use to determine if you are in violation of the passing law. Even if you are caught passing within these specific parameters we at Ticket Busters can still help you.
One should note that this Nevada Revised Statute does not apply to a one-way highway. Much like many of the other traffic statutes in Nevada that apply to the Rules of the Road, if you are caught violating this one in a work zone you could be subjected to additional penalties.
Americans love a road trip and doing one in the state of Nevada will not disappoint. There are many ghost towns dotted throughout the state that is full of history and stories. If only the walls could talk.
One thing drivers will also encounter aside from the coyotes, rabbits and foxes are the dreaded two-lane road. They are not seen on the main highways traveling through large cities such as Las Vegas (Interstate 15) and Reno (Interstate 80), but they can be found on pretty much any other highway within the state.
As mentioned, Highway 95 travels north and south and goes through the mining towns of Beatty, Tonopah and Goldfield, and more, as it is the main and pretty much only route to get drivers from the northern part of the state to the southern part (and vice versa).
Highway 50, which is the main arterial traveling east and west through the state is also a 2 lane road. Highway 93 does link Elko to the Las Vegas area through the small town of Ely but that is on the eastern side of the state and a long way from Reno.
Highway 167 is the link between the small town of Pahrump and Las Vegas. It has been recently overhauled to include more lanes which is really helpful for travelers. Due to the high housing costs in Las Vegas, many people are moving to the more affordable Pahrump but still working in Las Vegas, especially in the service sector.
With the hospitality industry running 24 hours a day, commuters traveling back and forth may do so at any hour to make their work shift. Driving at night is always more difficult and that is especially the case when a driver has worked a full shift.
Safety Reminders from Ticket Busters
All of these smaller highways will have an occasional passing lane but they are few and far between so taking great care while passing is a must. Knowing the driving laws in Nevada is also important so that you know what you can and cannot do.
There are many roadside memorials that family members have installed for loved ones that have died on the roads in Nevada. When passing them on a road trip, most drivers must wonder what happened to cause the accident.
Passing someone dangerously on a two-lane road is a common reason for many major accidents in the rural parts of Nevada. Always take great consideration when passing someone on a two-lane road.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the legal distance that you have to stay away from obstruction when passing?
According to NRS 484B.213, one hundred feet is the measurement used for not being able to pass when there is a tunnel or similar obstructions. For intersections, it’s 1000 feet. It is important to obey this law as violating it can result in hefty fines and penalties.
Are there any other considerations when passing on a two-lane highway?
Yes, when you are traveling through a work zone or it is nighttime be extra cautious as these could result in harsher penalties if violated. Additionally, always be aware of your surroundings and the other drivers on the road. Be sure to leave plenty of room for passing safely. Err on the side of caution.