In 2020, the number of vehicle miles traveled significantly decreased as the pandemic shut down events and restricted travel. In 2021, travel rebounded as drivers logged 325 billion more miles than the previous year. As a result, the number of vehicle fatalities also increased significantly.
Why do vehicle statistics matter?
Numbers can help us understand why accidents occur and how we can protect ourselves, our families, and other drivers. This article will focus specifically on Nevada road safety stats, facts, and tips so you can better understand how to safely navigate the roads.
Nevada Road Safety Statistics
The following information comes from the Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT).
- There have been 211 total traffic fatalities so far in 2022 as of July 31st. There were 349 total fatalities in 2021 and 314 in 2020.
- Of those 2022 fatalities, 43 were pedestrians, and 47 were unrestrained motorists
- Impaired driving is the #1 cause of motor vehicle crashes in Nevada, accounting for 47% of traffic fatalities.
- Motorcyclists are 28x more likely to die in a crash than someone in a car or truck.
- 63% of pedestrian fatalities occur where there is no crosswalk.
Crash Data by Category
The most recent complete data (2019) from the NDOT shows fatality statistics sorted by category.
- In 2019, there were 285 fatal crashes in Nevada resulting in 304 deaths.
- Only one of those fatalities was a restrained child, and 55 involved unrestrained passengers and drivers.
- Nine fatalities were the result of distracted driving.
- 129 fatalities were the result of impaired driving, and 104 occurred at intersections.
- 87 fatalities were the result of speeding.
Impaired driving is extremely hazardous, as is distracted driving. Sending a text takes your eyes off the road for 5 seconds, which at 55 mph is like traveling the length of a football field with your eyes closed. Simple things like keeping your eyes on the road, not texting, and following traffic signs and speed limits will dramatically reduce your chances of being involved in an accident.
Nevada Road Safety Tips
Drivers should always look for ways to improve their awareness and safe driving knowledge to protect themselves and others on the road. What can you do to improve your safe driving skills?
The 2011 Nevada Legislature passed a law banning texting or talking on a handheld device while driving. Reading, typing, or talking on the phone while driving can incur a fine of up to $250. Avoiding texting and driving is in everyone’s best interest. Drivers are four times more likely to crash when driving and using a phone.
Here’s some advice from the Nevada Department of Transportation about how to avoid distracted driving:
- Make any necessary calls or texts before driving or pull over to a safe area before taking a call.
- Don’t call someone you know is driving.
- Ask a passenger to help with activities that would take your attention away from the road such as reading directions.
- Avoid driving while doing any activity that takes your hand off the steering wheel (eating, drinking, brushing hair, applying makeup, etc.).
- If needed, install an app that blocks texting while driving.
Driving in High Winds
Certain areas of Nevada highways are susceptible to very high crosswinds up to 70 mph. Many people don’t recognize high winds as a hazard that can cause accidents. To stay safe while driving during severe weather, you should:
- Plan ahead and leave early to have time to drive slowly
- Always wear a seatbelt
- Turn on your headlights if blowing dust, debris, snow, or rain obstructs your visibility
- Keep your hands firmly on the steering wheel and prepare to make steering corrections when driving from wind-protected areas to unprotected areas
- Maintain a safe distance from other vehicles, especially RVs, campers, trucks, and buses, which can swing out and hit your car in sudden wind gusts
- Watch for objects that could blow into the road, such as tree branches and other debris
- Pull over to a safe area if winds are severe enough to prevent safe driving
- Ensure you are at a safe distance from power lines, trees, or anything else that might fall
- Never drive over downed power lines. Avoid touching trees or vehicles near or touching downed lines, and report any damaged power lines to your local utility emergency center and the police
Rainy and Snowy Day Driving
Nevada is the driest U.S. state, leaving many drivers unprepared for driving in the rain or snow. Driving hazards during the winter include limited visibility, black ice, snow removal equipment, and avalanche-prone areas. If you are caught in a rainstorm or snowstorm while driving, you should:
- Ensure your shoes are dry before driving to prevent your feet from slipping
- Leave with enough time to drive cautiously and turn on your headlights
- Plan your route and avoid any steep hills or icy/flooded areas
- Avoid flooded areas
- Never attempt to cross through running or flooding water
- Defrost your windows before and while driving, and remove snow from your mirrors, windows, lights, turn signals, and license plates
- Always use your windshield wipers (by Nevada law, drivers must keep their windshield wipers on during rain and snow)
- Brake earlier and softer than you otherwise would, turn slower, and give other cars more distance to avoid sudden stops
- Keep in mind that speed limits are based on normal road and weather conditions, not winter conditions
- Turn off cruise control to reduce hydroplaning
If your car starts to slide or drift, slowly remove your foot from the accelerator. Steer in the direction of the skid. Do not slam the brakes. Apply steady pressure on ABS-equipped vehicles or pump the brakes on non-ABS vehicles.
During the school year, drivers must be extra cautious about driving through school zones. Pedestrians and motorists are equally responsible for remaining attentive and safely navigating daily commutes.
If your child walks to school, encourage them to walk with a group. Children riding bikes or scooters should have bright-colored protective gear and understand how to use designated crosswalks. Drivers must always be aware of their surroundings and avoid blocking crosswalks when stopping at a red light or making a turn.
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