Houston – a deadly place to drive.
A startling fact – there were no deathless days on Texas roadways in 2019. But it comes as no surprise that the deadliest place for drivers is Houston. Even in 2020, with traffic cut nearly in half due to covid-19 restrictions, the carnage hasn’t let up – a troubling trend that Houston has battled with over the past two decades.
Just last year, the metro Houston area added nearly 100,000 residents and since 2010, the Houston area has grown by over one million people. In fact, the Houston-Woodlands-Sugar Land Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) is the fifth most populous MSA in the nation and comes in behind the Dallas-Ft. Worth-Arlington metro area. Nevertheless, the Houston metro area has far more fatal and non-fatal car accidents than its Dallas-Ft. Worth MSA counterpart.
Statewide, failing to drive in a single lane, speeding and driving under the influence of alcohol were the top three factors contributing to crashes in 2019.
Motor vehicle accidents – a Houston phenomenon
The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) defines a motor vehicle traffic accident as: “Any crash involving a motor vehicle in transport that occurs or originates on a traffic way, results in injury to or death of any person, or damage to the property of any one person to the apparent extent of $1,000.”
All Texans know that Houston traffic accidents and fatalities are out of control – but experts can’t point to a specific reason why Harris county is so especially dangerous for drivers and pedestrians other than the usual contributing factors. TxDOT reported that Harris County had 113,525 total crashes in 2019, and 395 of those were fatal. In Dallas county there were 55,346 total crashes, and 257 of those were fatal.
When to avoid the road and what roads and intersections to avoid
When should you avoid the road? Statistics show that during 2019, more DUI (alcohol) crashes were reported between 2:00 am and 2:59 am than any other time during the day. And there were more crashes on Saturdays than any other day of the week.
As for which roadways to avoid, I-45 tops the list nationally in 2020. Houston’s own I-45 was named the most dangerous stretch of roadway in US in 2020, according to Popular Mechanics, and in recent years it has been named among the world’s deadliest roadways. The most terrifying stretch is through Houston where texting while driving, drunk driving, and speeding are the main factors contributing to accidents on the roadway.
I-10, US-290 and US-59 are also among the nation’s most dangerous roadways according to a 2018 ranking by Value Penguin, which used data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System (NHTSA-FARS).
As for the most dangerous intersections, according to LINKHouston, the scariest in 2019 were:
- Long Point & Gessner
- Fondren & West Bellfort
- Bissonnet & Wilcrest
- Shepherd & Allen Pkwy & Kirby
- Taylor & Spring & MKT Trail
- Hawthorne & Spur 527 & Holman
- Fannin & Pierce
- Ranchester & Bellaire
- West & Airline
- Bellaire & S Gessner
- 11th & Nicholson
- Patterson & Washington
More tips for safe driving in Houston and what to do if you’ve been in a crash
Remember – defensive driving is your best bet to protecting yourself and your family on the Houston roadways. Keep your eyes glued to the road, check your mirrors, always wear a seat belt never drive under the influence, and don’t text and drive.
If you’ve been in a car or motorcycle accident in the Houston area, know that most accident victims are paid by the insurance company. A good lawyer will be able to establish the cause of the crash and potentially responsible parties, negotiate a settlement or take your case to court in order to help pay your medical bills, lost wages, property damage as well as all other traumas you might be going through as a result of a car or motorcycle crash. More notable information about Houston-area traffic accidents:
- In 2019, 256,338 people were injured in motor vehicle traffic crashes.
- There were 410 motorcyclists (operators and passengers) killed in 2019. Forty five percent of motorcyclists killed were not wearing helmets when they crashed.
- Time is money and according to a study released in 2019 by the research firm INRIX, Houston came in at number 14 for the metro areas with the highest cost of congestion per driver.
- Texas-wide, one person was killed every two hours and 26 minutes in a motor-vehicle accident; and one person was injured every two minutes and three seconds in the Lone Star state.
- There is a Facebook group for Houston traffic haters.
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