Driving at Lake Tahoe

Driving Tips

We’re adventurous—not crazy! From weird weather that rolls in from nowhere to roads that seem to point there, you never know what you’ll encounter in this awesomely uncanny state. Part of the fun? You bet. But let’s keep it that way with a few tips, road rules, and general bits of wisdom to prep you for your unforgettable Nevada experience. Before you buckle up for an adventure of a lifetime, there’s a few on-road highway driving tips and off-road basics you’ll need to know, like ensuring there’s enough gas in the tank, how to prep for inclement weather, registering your OHV, fees and other safety equipment needed. Read on for Travel Nevada PRO TIPs for driving to Nevada, in and around the state.

Highlights

  • Driving Nevada Highways
  • Nevada Wildlife Encounters
  • Live by the Dirt Road Code

Highway Driving Tips

From High Beams to High-Speed Limits

Those long stretches of road that splice through Nevada’s peaks and valleys are certainly picture-perfect, but sometimes require smart maneuvering, especially if you plan on driving to Nevada from out of state or driving at night. Before you hit the road, embrace a few highway driving tips that will make your time in Nevada fun, safe, and mindful of others on the road.

Season

All Seasons

Region

State of Nevada

Driving Nevada Roads at Night

Though it may seem like those roads are lonely, don’t rely on little to no traffic as a constant too much—it’s always when you think you’re the only one on the road that oncoming traffic comes out of nowhere and surprises you. When pulling over, be sure to stop only in safe locations like pullouts, and off-the-highway rest stops whenever possible. If emergency strikes and you don’t have those opportunities, remember to pull all the way off the highway with plenty of shoulder space if at all possible. 

Night Driving, Pyramid Lake, Driving at Night, Driving Tips, Nevada Driving Tips
Pyramid Lake
Night Driving, Las Vegas, Driving at Night, Driving Tips
Downtown Las Vegas

Renting a car? Make sure your vehicle’s turn signals are working properly and be sure to test those high beams—you’re going to need ‘em in rural Nevada. A lot of our highways require day-time headlights (keep your eyes out for signs). Be sure to use the left lane for passing, but only when you’ve got tons of distance to safely do so, and always remember to obey posted speed limits. Like we said, you may think you’re the only one on the road, but a lot of the time, so are our rural officers of the law. And they like to keep their highways as safe as possible. Trust us. 

Driving Nevada in the Winter

Nevada is a land of extremes, and the weather is no exception. Check ahead for any inclement weather that may make traveling through low desert and high desert terrain harder than it needs to be. There are two of America’s four deserts in Nevada—The Great Basin and Mojave—which means the temperature range around here is extreme across the state, even within the space of a day. Travel prepared, especially when accessing remote locations.

Red Rock National Conservation Area
Mojave Desert
Ruby Mountains, Ruby Mountain Heli Ski
Great Basin Desert

Make sure your gear kit has a flashlight with extra batteries, a headlamp, and jumper cables. Bottled water, a multi-tool—think a Leatherman or Swiss Army Knife—road flares or reflective warning triangles, and windshield cleaner are all items that are always good to have with you on Nevada highways, too.

Wildlife Crossing, Nevada Wildlife, Nevada Burros,
Spring Mountain Ranch State Park

Wildlife Crossings

Nevada is very much a wild place, and definitely has all kinds of animals roaming freely to prove it. Beyond the asphalt, Nevada wildlife ranges from rattlesnakes to rabbits, coyotes, antelope, wild horses, and burros. While you’re out here, remember that you’re on their turf, especially considering many of these herds are protected and fixtures of the very places you’re visiting. 

Animal safety crossings—or passages above or beneath roadways—help prevent human and animal injuries or deaths, but they don’t exist everywhere, so slow down and stay alert. Keep your eye out for large birds of prey sitting in the middle of the road, too—though you think they may take flight as you approach hawks, eagles and other large birds of prey characteristically… won’t. 

Dirt Roads, Driving Dirt Roads, Driving Tips, Nevada Driving Tips
Success Loop Scenic Drive

And of course you’ve got unfenced, open-range cattle in some parts of Nevada, too—and some of those things are bigger than your vehicle. In this case, we’re talking about a rancher’s livelihood if one were to be struck—accident or not. Keep your eye on speed, especially when driving at night, and always try and give more than you take. 

Travel Nevada Pro Tip

Really want to get to know the Nevada backroads? Follow the Dirt Road Code and you’ll be an expert in no time.

Exploring Rural Nevada

What does freedom feel like? It normally hits the second your tires drop off the pavement and grip onto a wide-open dirt road. Few feelings beat the feeling of true freedom, and there sure is a lot of it calling you from hundreds of miles of Nevada’s backroads. Sometimes traveling unpaved roads can seem intimidating, but with the right packing list and a few solid road rules like what nighttime safety on rural roads actually looks like, there’s no way to go wrong out here. 

Whether you’ve rambled our backroads more than once, or are just dippin’ your tires in for the first time, we’ve got the dirt on what it takes to unlock some tried and true off-grid bliss. Follow these tips when driving Nevada’s unpaved roads:

Paper Map
International Car Forest of the Last Church
Rural Nevada, Driving Tips, Driving in Rural Nevada
Black Rock Desert
  • Get your pack list dialed, then don’t take it out of the trunk. Keep it stocked, that way, you’ll automatically be ready the next instant you wanna peel out of town.
  • Bring a tire patch kit, shovel, and jumper cables. Always have a full-size spare.
  • Always carry a paper map or atlas—cell coverage in rural Nevada isn’t always dependable, and Google Maps are not a reliable source.
  • Carry extra fuel, water and food.
  • Keep your distance between cars to avoid broken windows, and stay to the right, even if it seems like a one-lane road.
  • If you’re going so fast you can’t avoid running over an animal—you’re going too fast.
  • Slow down in small towns or ranching communities.

#TravelNevada

Whether you’re a dusty ol’ pro or just dippin’ your tires in, we’ve got the dirt on what it takes to unlock some great highway driving and off-grid bliss. Want to help us show it off? Use #TravelNevada on all your Nevada backroads adventures. If we love your photo, look for it here.

Planning trips in late Feb/early March are tricky. We had to adjust plans a few times due to weather and permits. Landed on a 12 mile paddle through the Black Canyon, down the Colorado River...making stops along the way to explore and soak in 4 different hot springs, then camped on the beach with an impressive fire, post an under the stars soak adventure. Not sure how I’m going to go back to a life that doesn’t include a daily nature soak 🤷🏻‍♀️ becky.schreiber wins the trip saver award for coming up with plan F that was an A+ adventure and thankful for kkurc for doing all the hard work of steering the canoe 🛶
The historicfourthward is a beautiful piece of history and a must-see on any visit to Virginia City. Open May - October. [📸 wolfie_wintermoon]
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#67: Valley of Fire State Park, NV
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We took a “rest day” exploring the colorful, petroglyph-covered rock formations of Valley of Fire. Starting to get seriously obsessed with the red and green hues out here!
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Finding the right piece.

lesinskiadam on Yin and Yang, 11a.
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5 months and 15 days until deep playa sunsets. Stoked to get to return to a flooded playa at the end of April for a little #boatingman #barbthebarbarian guada.lupe.diver #blackrockdesert #DFMI #burningman Van
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🛶 Lake Tahoe at the Stateline, Nevada.

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It's a #CarsonValleyNV traidition and a
At the top of a mountain looking over the whole world is the best place to clear your mind and reflect. 📷by 11.06am
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When you're feeling a little weird, you roadtrip to explore Nevada and gotta see Area 51👽
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