If you are visiting Wyoming and want to make a trip to the state, or if you are already in Cowboy State and want to learn more about the rules of the road and get useful driving tips, we have a guide to help you!
Driving in Wyoming is relatively easy if you follow local rules and make sure your car is prepared for the rough terrain and weather you may encounter on the road. Make sure your documents are in order and you can go!
Please note that this guide is intended primarily for people visiting Wyoming and contains basic information such as how to get there, routes and how to get around in Wyoming. B. the basic elements that must be known about driving, emphasising the fundamental differences with other nations or countries
If you come to Wyoming from other states, there are some things that may not be what you are used to:
- No toll roads – No toll roads in Wyoming. The only time you have to pay to drive is when you enter several local, national and state parks or other places that charge entrance fees.
- Some isolated roads can be difficult to cross are – Some isolated roads in Wyoming are unpaved and can be difficult to drive with anything other than the right SUV or 4×4 truck.
- Studded tyres are legal – Wyoming is one of the few states where studded tyres are legal (but not compulsory) in winter. This means that some of the cars around you can drive much better and stop much faster than you can – keep your distance and be very careful.
- Some unusual local laws may apply , but you are unlikely to find yourself in a situation where you need to comply with any of these laws. If, for example, you drive on a small country road and stumble over a fence, you are legally obliged to close the fence behind you, under penalty of a $750 fine!
Resting and service stations
Although most of the state is remote, there are many petrol stations in the area that sell diesel and gasoline. Because Wyoming has a high average height, standard gas is available in the 85, 88 and 91 octane range for standard, medium and premium gas.
This means that if your car needs a premium fuel with an octane rating of 93 and above (equivalent to 98 RON in other parts of the world), you should settle for a premium fuel with a lower octane rating – the high altitude probably means you won’t notice much of a difference.
Along the major and interstate highways there are official recreation areas and places to stop, but because Wyoming has many outdoor areas and is very rural, you can find places to stop almost anywhere if you want to take a short break, make a phone call or eat. Restaurants, toilets and other facilities can generally only be found in the towns along the route.
What to do in case of emergency
If you are in a serious emergency and need urgent assistance from the police, medical service or fire brigade, call 911. If you can’t dial the number or if you don’t have a signal, see if other road users can help you, or call from the nearest city or mobile area.
If you are involved in an accident, remember to stay calm and follow the basic instructions below:
- If possible, find a safe place to stop on the highway.
- Provide the necessary medical care for the persons in your vehicle, all other vehicles involved, pedestrians or other persons involved in the process. It’s a legal obligation in Wyoming, so do what you can to help!
- If you need help in an emergency, call 911.
- If it is a serious accident (total damage more than $1,000), you must report the accident to the local police, who will come and complete their documents.
- Share your contact details and insurance with all other parties, take photos or other information or evidence if you need them later.
In order to drive a car in Wyoming, you must have a valid driver’s license, valid registration and valid insurance for the vehicle you are driving. If you are arrested by a police officer or if you have had an accident, you will probably have to produce all three of these documents on request.
Always make sure you take all this with you when you drive. Although it is not a serious offence, you can cause yourself a lot of headaches and waste a lot of time if you do not have the documents with you accidentally when asked for them. If you have a valid driver’s license and insurance, you can show them later to avoid fines, but you will probably spend a lot of time on the road and may even have to go to the police.
|Documents needed to drive in Wyoming.|
|Driving license required||A valid license from your state/country|
|International Driving License
|The format of the 1949 Convention – can make things much easier when you are stopped, especially if your driver’s license is not in English.|
|It’s not necessary, but it might be easier if you were arrested for an identity check.|
|Approval of the vehicle
|This is either the registration of your car or the delivery of documents for the rental of the car.|
|Insurance for you to drive a vehicle in Wyoming.|
Driving licence requirements
If you do not have a Wyoming driver’s license, all you need is a valid driver’s license issued in your home country. Please note that if you move to Wyoming within a year, you will have to change to the Wyoming state law, but all visitors and students can travel under the state law.
If you come from another country, you can travel using the rights of your country, as long as they are valid in your country. Technically, you don’t need an international driver’s license in Wyoming, but I strongly advise you to get one. This applies especially if your driving licence is issued in a language other than English or if you come from a country where the local police are less well known.
You must have an International Driving Permit (IDP) that complies with the 1949 Geneva Convention – beware, there are 3 different types of permits you can get! You can only be admitted as a domestic refugee in the country where the permit has been issued, and you can usually pick it up at a nominal fee – usually the equivalent of a few dollars – from places such as your local post office.
I’d rather spend five minutes with one of them with a headache and talk to a policeman who has never seen your driver’s license and doesn’t know if it’s real, whether you need it or not, on the side of the road in rural Wyoming.
When you rent a car, you should be able to find what you need for registration and insurance in the documents of your car rental company. If you drive your own car, make sure your insurance is valid throughout Wyoming and the United States, and if not, buy an additional policy that covers your car.
Other documents to be carried on board
There are two other mandatory documents that you must bring with you when you drive. These are registration and insurance documents.
The police officer may ask you to look at these documents if you stop while driving and if you do not show them, not only can this be unpleasant, but it can also lead to a huge waste of time, a possible visit to the police station and a fine.
The car registration is simply an original document that confirms that you own a car that is valid in your state or country. If, for any reason, your registration document is not from the United States or Canada, I strongly recommend that you request a certified translation that contains the keywords of the various parts of the original document that are normally found at registration in the United States.
Insurance is relatively simple: your car needs to be well insured while you drive. If you are traveling from Canada or other countries outside the United States, make sure your insurance covers you in the United States. If you come from another state and do not live longer than 90 days, your insurance policy should be good for Wyoming, but you may want to make sure you are covered for safety.
It is strongly recommended that persons outside the United States have a passport. The police officer has the legal authority to confirm the identity of the driver, and it is possible that the foreign driving licence and the handwritten document of the displaced persons do not meet this requirement.
Again, I’m not giving legal advice on what’s technically correct here. All I’m saying is that you should take your passport with you to avoid a possible loss of time and nerves in case you get arrested.
Safety laws and regulations you should know
While most rules of conduct in Wyoming are the same as in the United States and similar to those in other countries around the world, there are some differences where each state seems to have its own peculiarities.
Can you turn right at the red signal? What’s that sign I’ve never seen before? Can I go this way? You should know that!
- In Wyoming the default rule is that you can turn right at an intersection, as long as you stop at an intersection and actively check the incoming cars. If you cross the road, even if the road looks clear, you can get a ticket.
- The flashing red light always means stop. If you see them on the street or in the school bus, you have to stop. In the case of the school bus you have to wait until the red lights stop blinking. In other cases, stop, check other vehicles and make room for oncoming vehicles, then continue driving. Flashing amber lights do not force you to stop, but you should be careful when slowing down.
- All quadruple stops work on first arrival. The priority on the road does not matter, and you act according to your order of arrival. If two cars arrive at the same time, the car on the right has priority. Traffic lights that don’t work are like four-lane driveways.
- Turning manoeuvres are permitted unless a special sign in front of or at an intersection indicates otherwise.
- Some highways have special lanes for high off-road vehicles (HOVs). You can only use the driving lane if there is more than one person in the vehicle.
- Hitchhiking is prohibited and is punishable by a fine. Don’t do that and don’t pick up hitchhikers.
- Signs can be very specific and use text. On some warning signs you may see animals you don’t find on standard American signs! Above your head, digital advertisements sometimes provide information in text form. Please note that they are considered to be official road signs.
In the United States, where species are more numerous, local warning signs are added to the standard warning signs.
Speed limits in Wyoming
Most roads in Wyoming have a fixed speed limit, which is clearly indicated by speed limit signs. They may vary, especially when travelling through cities and mountains, but generally the following speed limits apply:
|Speed limits in Wyoming|
|National road||80 miles per hour (sometimes 75 miles per hour)|
|cobbled motorway||70 miles per hour|
|Unpaved road||55 miles per hour|
|In urban areas||30 miles per hour|
|Marked school zones||20 miles per hour|
Some areas in Wyoming use different speed limits. You will receive digital speed limit signs that show you a different number than the normal number on the road.
Border crossing and travel rights
Most Wyoming transport hubs are easy to navigate and have either traffic lights or clear markings that help you understand what they are.
Remember that the red lights can be operated with the right hand unless otherwise indicated. You must stop and check oncoming vehicles and give way to other vehicles and pedestrians crossing the road.
In case you are not sure who is on the right side of the road or if the intersection is not marked, the rule is to leave the cars on your right and prefer cars on your left.
Don’t assume that others are as mysterious as you – some might assume that hubs work on the basis of the first race and not the other way around. So take a look at the other drivers to see what they’re doing before you move on.
Travelling with children
Wyoming’s Children’s Seat Act is different from other national laws. Children must use federally approved car seats and sit in the rear, except in exceptional cases where all rear seats in the car are already occupied by children.
Rarely do all children under the age of 9 sit in a child seat, unless the child is old enough to securely fasten the belt to the collarbone, chest and knees. The wording is a bit vague, and I still recommend to stay on the safety side and use the car seat.
Another unusual point is that the legislation does not stipulate that the car seat must be rearward-facing or forward-facing or that children must be able to move from one seat to the other. As long as the seats meet federal requirements, you can choose what you want!
Remember that if you come from abroad, not all car seats comply with U.S. regulations. Even those from Canada, Great Britain and other countries are often not allowed to be used in the United States, including Wyoming.
Check it before you travel – if you need to keep the car seat, you can rent or buy it with your car. Renting seems good until you find out it can cost more than buying a chair directly, and the condition of some owners’ chairs can be questionable.
A good option is to buy it at Walmart, use it for travel and eventually get rid of it – unfortunately, sometimes there is no better option.
Some roads in Wyoming offer breathtaking scenery.
Fines and police work
I hope you never have to deal with the police or commit traffic violations while you’re in Wyoming, but to be sure, I thought I’d add a few points so you don’t forget.
Do not drink or drive.
The most obvious advice about driving in Wyoming is alcohol. Driving under the influence of alcohol is a very serious crime and I urge you not to put yourself in a situation where you could break the law.
Wyoming’s law has set the blood alcohol level at 0.08%, a relatively common level in the USA, comparable to many other countries.
You can also be sued for driving restrictions if the police officer believes that you have a clear disability without having been tested.
Please note that Wyoming and U.S. laws are quite strict regarding drink-driving. If you drive a vehicle, you may be charged whether or not you drive it. If you have exceeded the limit and parked on the street with the engine off, you can still be convicted of drink-driving.
Also make sure that there is no open or closed alcohol in the car. Drinking or not drinking is a crime with very severe penalties. If you’ve been in a restaurant and you have an unfinished bottle of wine, take it in the trunk.
Some restaurants fill the bottle and put it in a tamper-evident bag that also contains a receipt, but I’m sure you’ll find it hard to find a restaurant in Wyoming where these bags are easy to reach.
If you are arrested by the police
If you pass by and tell the police to stop or turn on the blue light, find a safe place and stop.
This is not legal advice, but if you want everything to go smoothly and politely, do exactly what the police officer tells you and answer the questions correctly.
Many people will tell you otherwise, but in my experience, if you have nothing to hide and you want to move fast, stop, roll down the window, turn off the engine and put both hands on the handlebars. Always ask the officer if you are going to climb into the pockets or hidden parts of the car to get to the documents, and be honest – you will usually be back on the road as soon as possible.
If you have committed a traffic offence, in most cases you will be fined, and if you do not want to go to court to contest it, you must pay for it before the deadline and in any case before leaving Wyoming.
Unlike many places in the USA, the parking rules in Wyoming are quite simple.
Make sure you do the obvious: do not park in prohibited areas, in front of roads or at intersections. Pay attention to the signage – in most cases parking is free of charge. In some cities the delay is a few hours, and sometimes you can park for three days.
Some cities in Wyoming, including Jackson, have free parking spaces where you can park for a longer period of time when visiting the city.
Please note that in some cities it is forbidden to park on the street at night to help clear the snow. So make sure you move your car, or it will be towed away.
Renting a car in Wyoming is easy enough whether you want to fly there or drive away for the weekend.
If you come from outside the United States, it is advisable to have an international driver’s license in addition to your driver’s license. Although it is not mandatory, you can meet less than one person from the co-op on the rental table if you do not bring them.
Book your car online in advance to avoid disappointment and get the best possible rate. Don’t forget that most car rental companies in Wyoming only rent cars more than 25 years old. Some only cost 21, but you’ll have to pay a huge premium.
Your car rental company will provide you with the necessary documents when you pick up the car, but check if you need any extra services and book them in advance to save time and money. If you think you need a sliding chain or a child seat, most rental companies can get you one for an additional charge.
Unlike many other countries and some other states, you don’t have much with you in the car, except for legal documents.
A first aid kit, respirator, fire extinguisher or spare lamps are not required. The only thing you legally have to have in your car is a warning triangle that you can place at a safe distance behind your car in case of a breakdown.
In addition, I strongly recommend that you carry a set of spare lamps with you when you drive your own car, in case one of your lamps breaks down 80 km from the nearest town.
In Wyoming it is not uncommon for car requirements to be legal on the road.
All standard positions apply – your tyres must be in good condition and have a tread depth of at least two-thirds of the second (2/32) (1.6 mm) – most tyre wear indicators are set at this level for easy checking.
Although, unlike some other countries, regular car inspections are not mandatory, it would be a good idea to at least visually inspect for things like brakes and suspension and make sure that all fluids are at the right level before starting to drive.
Wyoming has a wide variety of landscapes and weather conditions that vary greatly from season to season. When travelling to Wyoming, be aware of the circumstances and drive accordingly.
Winter driving and snow chains
Wyoming’s roads can become icy and dangerous in winter.
Snow tires are not mandatory in Wyoming, even though it is one of the most snowy states in the United States. Tyres for all seasons are a realistic minimum in winter, and snow tyres are highly recommended if you plan to drive near mountains.
In certain circumstances, non-slip tyres may be a legitimate requirement – a State may classify parts of a Level 1 or 2 area as a restricted zone.
For Level 1, your vehicle must be equipped with suitable snow tyres, either four-wheel drive or snow chains.
If conditions are strict enough for level 2, snow chains are mandatory for all vehicles, except for all-wheel-drive vehicles and winter tyres. Even if this is the case, snow chains can be a good idea for safety.
If you rent a car in winter and drive to places where you might need it, it is a good idea to rent a snow chain as well. Although Yellowstone and some other areas are closed, there are still many isolated places in Wyoming where you can get stuck in the snow.
If you’re looking forward to going out in the middle of winter, consider putting a few extra things in the car. A snow shovel, a window scraper and a tow rope can be very handy. Bring warm clothes, blankets, food and drinks in case you get stuck somewhere!
Also be aware of your route – many roads are closed to regular traffic during the winter season, including most roads in and around Yellowstone.
Driving under adverse conditions
In addition to the requirements for driving in snow, make sure you are prepared for the different road conditions while driving in Wyoming. The terrain is huge and you can leave Cheyenne on a hot sunny day and find thunderstorms when you reach Yellowstone.
It is always good to be prepared and caring. Specifically:
- Check the condition of your tires and wipers.
- Slow down and keep the extra distance to the vehicle in front of you. Whether it’s a cold, slippery winter or a rainy autumn and spring, there are many reasons why you need extra space.
- Turn on the light at any time – light makes recognition easier. If you are driving on a narrow mountain road that bends or stretches behind a bend, the light can only make you more visible.
- Be careful when braking and never apply the brake pedal to the ground. If you slip on ice, covered, slippery or lost ground, the problems really start, so be careful if you have to slow down.