Houston is the fourth most populated city in America but it is also one of the vastest in terms of the spread-out landmass – and it’s continuing to grow rapidly both in population and in size. Houston spans nine counties, including Austin County, Brazoria County, Chambers County, Fort Bend County, Galveston County, Harris County, Liberty County, Montgomery County, and Waller County. Even though there are cities larger than ours, Houston is home to some of the deadliest places to drive in the country. In fact, 640 people a year die on Houston-area roads, and 2,850 more are seriously injured, making Houston the most deadly major metro area in the nation for drivers, passengers, and pedestrians.
What Makes Houston Roads So Dangerous?
With more vehicles traveling along Houston roads than ever before and many traveling at high speeds along with great distances, there are many reasons why Houston roads are so dangerous, including:
- Long Commutes: As Houston, continues to grow, commute times are getting longer and people are thus spending more time driving or riding in motor vehicles. The rate of car accidents increases with an increased number of people on the road.
- Road Congestion: At least one study found Houston drivers spend an average of 75 hours a year sitting in traffic delays. Rush hour time congestion has increased as well, with drivers needing to add about 18 minutes to their travel time after work.
- Roadways Designed for High Speeds: While speed limits in Houston may be high, don’t speed beyond them. You are less likely to get into a car wreck if you abide by posted speed limits.
- Restrictions on the Use of Automated Enforcement: Laws have gone into effect banning the use of red-light cameras (photographic traffic signals) statewide. Drivers know they can’t be held accountable in this way anymore, making them more likely to blow through intersections when traffic lights are yellow or even red, putting others on the road at risk.
- Lack of Sidewalks and Bike Lanes: Houston program “Vision Zero” is designed to end roadways deaths on our streets. The idea is to prioritize safety and accessibility in street design for people of all ages and abilities, including those who drive, walk, bike, use a wheelchair, or ride public transit.
What are the Deadliest Places to Drive in Houston?
Houston’s own I-45 topped the list for the most dangerous stretch of roadway in the U.S. The portion of the freeway that runs through Houston is the most lethal segment, accounting for 73 deaths in 2019 alone. I-45 is also ranked one of the darkest highways in the country, and it has the highest rate of drunk driving fatalities. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, three additional Houston highways are among the most dangerous nationally for roadway fatalities – I-10, US-290, and US-59. In addition, the most dangerous locations for Houston fatal car accidents include but are not limited to:
- The intersection of JFK and Aldine Bender
- Highway 225 between Shaver and Scarborough Lane
- The I-45 Feeder Road at Chartres Street
- The East Freeway Frontage Road at the intersection of Gellhorn Drive
- The 610 Loop and North McCarty
- Greens Road at I-45
- Sam Houston Parkway at Westheimer Road
- Main Street at the South Loop
- Beechnut Street and Bissonet Street at Sam Houston Parkway
How To Stay Safe While Driving in Houston
While there are a variety of things drivers, passengers, and pedestrians can do to stay safe on Houston roads, considering the deadliest places to drive in Houston are many, some best practices for roadway safety include:
- Pay attention, stay focused, and be alert
- Obey the speed limit
- Do not drive while under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Do not drive while tired or fatigued
- Wear your seatbelt
- Leave early so you are not rushing
- Use your vehicle’s headlights in periods of low visibility, whether weather or night
- Always signal for turns and lane changes
- Do not tailgate – leave two car lengths between you and the next vehicle in front of you
- Do not engage in distracted driving behaviors like using your cell phone while driving
- Maintain your car by keeping it in good working condition
Houston Car Accident Lawyers
Our personal injury trial attorneys have worked on hundreds of car accident cases, and we can help make this process easier for you and your family. Speaking with one of our injury attorneys is always free and a confidential way to get your questions answered about the auto accident and the legal process. Once you speak to our team, if you decide to work with us, we can begin investigating the car crash and building your case. Contact us today so a member of our legal team can reach out to you.