I am not a particularly religious person but anytime I venture onto Highway 95 I say a prayer to God, the angels and any other beings that may be listening because, truthfully, I am terrified to drive on that road. In a little more than two weeks-time on a 200-mile stretch of Highway 95 between Beatty and Hawthorne, there have been three accidents involving at least two cars each and resulting in at least one death each.
Although the reasons for the accidents haven’t been made public, anyone who regularly travels on Highway 95 can venture a few guesses – excessive speed, passing on barrier lines, unsafe passing or inconsiderate impatient drivers. Living in any of the rural towns along Highway 95 requires trips to the cities for various reasons and living in Tonopah means we travel both directions.
During the past few years I have seen and experienced a dramatic increase in the number of near misses on this highway. Many will say we need four lane highways. Sure, four lanes would be nice but that is many years and many millions of dollars away. The only thing that would really help would be for people to slow down and be patient, but that isn’t likely to happen either.
Maybe the best solution would be a saturation of Nevada Highway Patrol and county police making themselves actively visible working to slow people down. Perhaps a campaign to educate drivers on the meanings and reasons for barrier lines because I truly believe many drivers do not know what these lines represent. An active enforcement of stopping and ticketing slower moving vehicles when too much traffic is piled up behind them would also reduce the impatience of drivers.
One highway patrolman stated that the penalties aren’t enough to make people think about the consequences of their dangerous behavior, maybe this also needs to be addressed.
Regardless of what can and needs to be done to reduce the dangers on Highway 95, I will continue to drive with one eye on traffic and another plotting my escape route through the desert while sending up multiple prayers to whomever will listen.