Driving on the Freeways in Las Vegas
In this chapter we discuss ways to manage risk when entering, driving on and exiting multi lane freeways in Las Vegas. Students will also learn about problems and features specific to Las Vegas.
Why do drivers say freeways are safer?
Freeways have medians or barriers between opposite lanes of traffic
Access is restricted to not allow slow moving vehicles and pedestrians.
There is no cross traffic
Wide shoulders provide escape path
Signs are well designated ahead of time to help drivers navigate exits
Freeways however pose their own unique dangers to the driver.
Many drivers are too close to the vehicle in front of them and have no time to react to an emergency. Excessive speed is also a big factor.
Most drivers are of average skill and do not have the skills to exceed the posted speed limits.
The far left lane is not a "fast lane". All lanes are the same speed.
Originally the left lane was a "passing lane". Used to go around vehicles driving under the speed limit. But you cannot exceed the speed limit to pass.
I often take new students on the freeway for the first time. Often the parents of teenagers or spouses of older drivers are not prepared with a method or plan.
Nor do they have a passenger brake as we do.
We practice getting on and getting off. Ramping up to speed and going for 1 or 2 exits then getting off. Often towards the end of a lesson we will spend a few minutes on the freeway. Students are often then looking forward to the next time.
"That wasn't so bad". I often hear. I don't recommend going for a long freeway drive the first time as you may encounter an unanticipated situation. The student is often nervous already being the first time.
Several years ago a student recounted how his father, a truck driver put him on the freeway the very first time he had ever driven. In his father's big truck with multiple gears.
My student did not drive for 2 years after that experience. He was 23 years old by the time he called me to start driving again.
I'll often take students down Blue Diamond or Saint Rose Parkway first as these roads are 55 mph. I'll explain then that the freeway is only 10 mph faster.
These roads have lots of stop lights also, so the student can practice slowing down alot earlier as id required from the higher speed. And starting off again on green, getting up to 55 mph with a constant smooth acceleration if traffic allows.
There are occasionally someone that simply will not ever drive on the freeways. You cannot force someone to do something they feel is unsafe or beyond their skill level.
I use positive encouragement but not too pushy. They are often slightly hesitate. So I will say something like "let's go for a few minutes, we will be fine."