Navigating Summer Roads on the Outer Banks-Tips and Patience

Outer Banks summer traffic on the Bypass. Be patient and think about alternative routes.
Outer Banks summer traffic on the Bypass. Be patient and think about alternative routes.
Be Patient-It Doesn’t Take That Long

Now that the summer solstice has officially announced the arrival of summer, our Outer Banks roads are filled with cars—most of them visitors but the locals have to drive as well.

What becomes apparent very quickly is getting from point A to point B at this time of the year can be a pretty trying experience.

So today we thought we would offer some advice to help our Joe Lamb Jr., & Associates visitors navigate what can be a frustrating driving adventure.

First…be patient. Remember—you’re on vacation. If it takes an extra 10 or 15 minutes to get someplace, it’s not that big of a deal.

The rest of our advice applies to the main Outer Banks towns of Kitty Hawk, Kill Devil Hills and Nags Head. Sorry Corolla, Duck and Southern Shores visitors, but there is only one road—NC12— that services the towns and our advice to “be patient” really is the best way to get around.

For the main beach towns, though, there are a couple of things that may be helpful.

Most of the traffic during the summer ends up on US 158, aka the Croatan Highway or The Bypass.

Once upon a time, it really was a bypass—an alternate five lane highway that bypassed the main business districts of the towns along the Beach Road…aka NC 12 or Virginia Dare Trail. It’s not much of a bypass anymore, since almost every major business now has a store or restaurant along the road.

The alternative is to take the Beach Road. Think of it as a more civilized way to travel. The 35 mph speed limit is lower than the Bypass, but it has far fewer lights and if the traffic is really heavy on the Bypass, it may not be that much slower.

Because traffic is so heavy on the bypass, getting on to the road can present some problems. Go back to our first point and be patient, but also, whenever possible use a traffic light to get on the road. That is particularly important if making a left hand turn.

Another possibility, if there is no light available, is to make a right hand turn, go to a light, intersection or even a shopping area, and turn across one lane of traffic instead of two.

Finally, we realize that when making a left hand turn into the traffic on the Bypass it’s tempting to use the middle land as an acceleration lane. Please don’t! The center turn lane is already confusing enough without an accelerating car coming at another vehicle attempting to turn left from the opposite direction.

Let’s face it—even though the traffic can be frustrating at times, being patient is a great way to deal with it.