Getting to and from Black Rock City

Traffic

Traffic is one of the biggest challenges our community faces. In addition to longer wait times to get to and from BRC, traffic places added stress on the surrounding rural area. Here is how we can work together to make a difference:

  • Carpool! Fewer vehicles on the road will help reduce wait times.
  • Take the Burner Express.
  • Arrive and depart at non-peak times to spread out vehicle traffic. You will also have shorter wait times! Peak arrival and Exodus days are Sunday and Monday.
  • On your way to BRC, watch our @BManTraffic Twitter feed and listen to BMIR on iHeartRadio for regular traffic updates at the top of the hour. During Exodus listen to BMIR 94.5 FM for regular updates on wait times and other traffic information. You can also listen to public service announcements during arrival and Exodus on the Gate-operated GARS station at 95.1 FM.

Load Your Vehicle Safely!

Loading your vehicle properly, whether it is a car, truck, trailer, motorhome, or anything towed, will make your trip safer and less stressful. Apply some simple precautions to ensure safety.

  • Never exceed the load capacity or the towing capacity of a vehicle or trailer. Check the recommended (not the maximum) weights for your vehicles and do not exceed them.
  • Don’t exceed the weight recommendations for a trailer and hitch.
  • Load your vehicle safely. Heavy items should be located low, centered, and over or between the axles. For trailers, load the heaviest items toward the front. Secure your load with straps or rope.
  • Cover your load with a tarp whenever possible.
  • Make sure that the brakes and lights work on your vehicle and any trailer you’re towing.
  • Always use safety chains, installed between your trailer and the tow vehicle.
  • Do not overload the roof or roof rack on your vehicle. Large or bulky objects, even if they are lightweight, can make driving dangerous in cross winds. They may loosen and fall off. An extraordinary number of full trash bags are found along the roadside after Burning Man due to poorly secured loads.

Vehicle Maintenance

Many mechanical problems that leave drivers stranded can be avoided with a little extra preparation before leaving. There are several things to keep in mind when preparing your vehicle. You are traveling to the Nevada desert in August. Temperatures can reach well above 100°F during the day. Your vehicle is going to be loaded with extra weight by gear. Check your vehicle’s tires and air pressure after loading your vehicle. Before leaving home, follow the tips below to ensure your vehicle is ready for the trip. Have your local mechanic inspect your radiator, tires (including your spare), belts, brakes, hoses, lights and fluids.

There are limited services for the 76 miles between Wadsworth and Empire. This means no reliable access to gas and no water. You’ll need to plan accordingly. Be wary of picking up hitchhikers — they may not have a ticket! Insist on seeing a ticket before giving anyone a ride.

Many motorists will travel on Interstate 80 until they reach the Wadsworth exit. The roadway from Wadsworth to the playa (Hwy 447) is very different from I-80. I-80 is designed to accommodate several thousand vehicles per hour. Hwy 447 is a two-lane road without wide paved shoulders, signs indicating rest areas, or pull-outs. Hwy 447 has many blind curves, grades, open range areas and soft sand roadway shoulders. Pay attention to the roadway and obey all traffic laws. Buckle up. Drive safely.

  • Use the Wadsworth or Nixon gas stations’ rest areas (and fill up your gas tank) before traveling north to the event. This will help reduce the need to stop alongside the road and the potential of getting stuck in the soft sand shoulder (this occurs often).
  • There is an overabundance of jackrabbits in the area. It is not worth jeopardizing your safety to swerve in an attempt to avoid them.
  • If you do need to pull over, look for a wide open area that doesn’t have steep shoulders bordering the highway. Do not to create a traffic hazard.
  • Stop and look carefully at all train crossings. Estimating the speed of trains is misleading in the broad desert expanse. Always wait for oncoming train to pass before crossing railroad tracks.
  • This is open range area. “Open range” means there are no fences bordering the roadway, so cattle explore the range freely. After dark the cattle are often drawn to the road to soak up the warmth retained in the asphalt. Cows are worth over $2,000 each and if you hit one in the open range you or your insurance will be held responsible. Hitting a cow is no fun, as anyone who’s done so can tell you. Be safe and smart. Do not speed. Be prepared to share the road with livestock and wildlife.
  • Avoid pulling over near curves and grades. These areas can be extremely dangerous for you and other motorists when attempting to re-enter the roadway. Approaching motorists are often unable to see you.
  • The state highway leading to Gerlach (the closest settlement to Black Rock City) and all other roads in the area are patrolled by the Nevada Highway Patrol. Observe posted speed limits. Local kids and pets play in the road. BE CAREFUL!
  • If stopped for speeding on tribal lands (Nixon and Wadsworth) be prepared to post a fine immediately. Most vehicle accidents in which participants are injured occur on Hwys 447 and 34 on the final approach to BRC. It is sad that people have often made it across the country only to have a serious injury in the last few miles. Please be cautious. Tired? Stop to rest!
  • Do not throw cigarette butts — or anything burning — out the window!
  • Yield to emergency vehicles — meaning get off the road as quickly and safely as possible to allow them to pass.
  • When using safety chains with a trailer, be sure they aren’t dragging on the pavement. They can cause sparks, leading to brushfires.
  • Be advised that law enforcement has been known to search vehicles. Do not park alongside Hwy 34. The county sheriff will ticket any vehicles that are parked by the roadside. Gate Road is your only access to Black Rock City. There are no other routes.
  • The BLM declares an off-road closure throughout a two-mile area around our city. It is patrolled by law enforcement agencies. Anyone attempting to enter the playa off-road will be subject to substantial fines. Furthermore, the margins of the lakebed are saturated with water. You will get stuck. Mired vehicles have remained stranded for days or weeks.
  • Fill up on gas on your way into the event; it is much easier than on the way out.