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Labor Day Traffic on I-15 and Traffic Changes as Nevadans Enter Fall

Labor Day Traffic

As Nevadans and tourists traveled between Las Vegas and Southern California over the Labor Day weekend they faced heavy traffic on I-15. This traffic backup is a common rite-of-passage for Nevada and California motorists during Labor Day weekend, especially those traveling Southbound. However, this year’s traffic seemed much calmer than past years, and there was roughly a 12-mile backup throughout the day. This pales in comparison to the 22-mile backup on Labor Day 2020, the 25-mile backup from July 4th weekend this year and the 26-mile backup on Memorial Day [1]. Las Vegas tourist experts were not surprised by this data and expected decreased traffic due to rising Covid-19 rates, wildfires, as well as hurricanes in the Southern United States. A spokesperson for Lake Mead National Park stated that the park usually gets 125,000 visitors on Labor Day Weekend but noted a much smaller crowd this year.

Labor Day Marks End of Nevada’s Deadliest Roadway Season

While Labor Day marks the end of Summer for many Nevadans, it also marks the end of one of the deadliest seasons for roads. The period between Memorial Day and Labor Day marks an increase in fatal accidents, and the American Automobile Association states that teen drivers were most affected during this time. Between the years of 2014 and 2018, nearly 700 teens lost their lives annually during this stretch.[2] This is due to the fact many teens get their driver’s license and spend a greater amount of time on the roads during summer vacation. Other reasons for this increase include the following:

  • Inexperience on the road, especially with nighttime driving and weather conditions like rain.
  • Driving long distances— Nevada is near many tourist destinations such as Lake Tahoe or Lake Mead that teens may want to visit during the summer. Driving longer distances requires more focus and can be difficult for new drivers.
  • Distracted Driving.
  • Fatigue.
  • Driving Under the Influence.
  • Speeding.

AAA’s survey of teens found that fifty percent of teenage drivers speed in residential areas while two-fifths stated they sped on the freeway or highway. More than fifty percent of drivers also admitted to using technology while driving, and more than twenty-five percent of those admitted that they sent a text message or picked up a phone call.

While this season has ended, it does not mean Nevada drivers should let their guard down. The fall and winter seasons usually bring weather conditions like rain and snow. Taking simple precautions like slowing down and planning can decrease the chance of getting in dangerous situations when driving. In addition, if you have a teen driver with little experience in such weather, drive with them until they become more accustomed to the conditions.

As we enter September, we begin the long-awaited football season with College football and NFL games beginning. Many Nevadans may enjoy watching the games at the local bars or at home with a cold beer. College students gather to show their school spirits with tailgates and parties. It is always important to drive responsibly. If you do decide to drink, call a taxi or ride share company. If you decide to go out with a group of friends, determine a designated driver prior to leaving. It is not worth driving under the influence, and getting a ride home is always safer than operating a motor vehicle and putting yourself and others at risk, even if you just had one drink. Last year alone, there were almost 400 fatal DUI crashes in Nevada, making up 33 percent of all fatal crashes [4]

Las Vegas and Reno Rank Among Best Cities to Drive In

This month WalletHub released a list of the best cities to drive in. The list ranked the 100 largest cities in United States and factored in driver friendliness, infrastructure, parking availability per capita, among many other things. Both Las Vegas and Reno made the top 50, with Las Vegas at 40 and Reno at 46. In addition, Las Vegas ranked third in modern infrastructure, fewest days with major weather events, and most car washes per capita. Reno ranked second in parking rates.

Raleigh, North Carolina got the top spot for best cities to drive in, followed by Greensboro, North Carolina and Lincoln, Nebraska. Oakland, Detroit, and San Francisco ranked as the worst cities to drive in. [3]

[1] https://www.reviewjournal.com/local/local-las-vegas/labor-day-traffic-clogs-i-15-at-california-nevada-border-2434798/

[2] https://newsroom.aaa.com/2019/05/aaa-reveals-key-deadly-behaviors-for-teen-drivers-as-100-deadliest-days-begin/

[3] https://www.iheart.com/content/2021-09-07-2-nevada-cities-rank-among-the-best-cities-to-drive-in/

[4] https://www.bankrate.com/insurance/car/drunk-driving/

 

Image Credit: Alpha Stock Images

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