Highway road in the desert.

Jacey Gonzalez / Nevada Sagebrush
The desolate Nevada U.S. 95 as it sits between Beatty and Goldfield on Friday, Mar. 22, 2019. U.S. 95 is arguably the worst highway in Nevada and driving it is not only tedious but dangerous.

Nevada is a great state with a lot of historic significance and pure love from its residents. Whether you love the Vegas lights or the Tahoe views, there’s something in the Silver State for everyone. But the worst part of the state of Nevada is the horrific drive on U.S. 95 between southern and northern Nevada.

One of the biggest issues is that most of the excruciatingly long drive is on a two lane highway. Not only does this create a lot of traffic, there are little to no safe areas to pass other cars in your lane. The designated passing lanes are few and far between, and depending which route you take, you have at most four passing lanes during a 400-mile drive. Which means you’re forced to go into oncoming traffic to try and pass the person in front of you, which is unsafe for drivers no matter their experience.

There is a proper way to pass people, and an improper way to pass people. If you have enough room and time, you shouldn’t have to speed up more than 10 miles per hour to pass the car in front of you. If you’re hitting 100 miles per hour while trying to pass the car in front of you, while simultaneously trying to keep an eye out for oncoming traffic, you’re probably cutting it too close.

If I had a dollar for every time I had to slam on my breaks to avoid a car speeding head on towards me in my own lane, I’d have enough money to fly between Las Vegas and Reno instead. There’s so much carelessness on this highway and I can’t tell if people don’t value their own lives, or if they just don’t value yours. This isn’t a friendly highway.

If you were to break down or run out of gas, there’s little to no help. You’re in a desolate desert that has spotty cell phone signal at best. You either have to hope you’re close enough to walk to the next town, you can find cell phone signal to call someone or if all else fails flag someone down for help. While this may seem fine in the middle of the day, the drive is seven hours long which means sometimes you’re forced to drive early in the morning or late at night, which means getting help could be more difficult.

Unless you’re in a town, there’s no street or safety lights on the highway which could make getting stuck even more nerve-wracking than normal. And even if you see tons of Nevada Highway Patrol cars when you’re driving, don’t expect them to stop and help, they’re usually preoccupied with pulling over people who are going 75 in a 70 zone. 

Nevada Highway Patrol makes the 95 their version of an adult field day. Everyone speeds, and if you claim that you don’t you’re lying to yourself and everyone else. Generally, the entire U.S. 95 is a 70 miles per hour zone, unless you’re in small towns with their slow zones. But when you’re driving for seven hours straight, 70 miles per hour is the equivalent of a school zone. So people speed, and if you’re in the unlucky few, you’ve gotten pulled over for maybe going five over. Nevada Highway Patrol will pull over whoever and for whatever, they don’t even care. While they’re keeping our state safe, and doing their best, it’s still frustrating to get pulled over for the little things. No one can blame you for wanting to speed when you’ve got to make up for the 30 minute construction delays that constantly happen.

I’ve been making this drive every three months for four years straight, and no matter where or when I drive, I always hit a construction delay. Most people would think, construction delay? No worries just drive around it. But when you’re hitting construction delays on a two lane highway, that means you’re stuck waiting behind a pilot car to guide you and the rest of traffic through the other lane. These delays take up so much time, and for a highway that isn’t going moving towards expanding lanes any time soon, there’s no reason why there’s always construction happening.

No matter the time of year, everyone hates this drive. While it’s the only productive way to get from southern to northern Nevada, it doesn’t make it any more bearable. If I had to choose one part of Nevada to change forever, this highway would be the top choice and I think I speak for everyone when I say, I hope it improves sometime soon.

Opinions expressed in The Nevada Sagebrush are solely those of the author and do not necessarily express the views of The Sagebrush or its staff. Jacey Gonzalez is a student at the University of Nevada and studies journalism. She can be reached at jaceygonzalez@sagebrush.unr.ed and on Twitter @NevadaSagebrush.