How to Drive Smart as Houston Traffic Increases
Brian White | December 15, 2018 | Auto Accidents
Texas has the second-highest number of licensed drivers in America. Currently, 15,879,876 Texans have valid driver’s licenses. Harris County reported 3,552,085 registered vehicles as of 2017. Over the next two decades, experts predict the population of the Houston region to grow from 6.5 million to 10 million people. More people in Houston means busier roads.
Our Houston car collision lawyers believe that preventing accidents will take greater effort as a Houston driver as years go by and traffic worsens.
Give Yourself More Time to Commute
The average driver in America spends 42 hours in the car every year stuck in traffic congestion, according to the Texas A&M Transportation Institute. Bad traffic can increase commute times and cause issues such as road rage. Although vehicles cannot travel fast in congested traffic, collisions can still cause considerable property damage and personal injuries, such as whiplash.
As traffic grows even denser in the coming years in Houston, it is important to control your commute by giving yourself more time to get to your destination. This extra time can mean less frustration if you encounter bad traffic, and you will not have to worry about being late.
Leave Ample Following Distance
Rear-end collisions are some of the most common traffic-related accidents. Bumper-to-bumper traffic in Houston can cause vehicles to be in close proximity to one another that is safe. Tailgating, distracted drivers, and abrupt braking at close proximity can lead to a rear-end accident. The best way to avoid these collisions is to increase your following distance.
Leave at least one car’s length of space between your vehicle and the back of the vehicle in front of you. Leave at least 30 feet of space between you and a commercial truck to stay out of its No Zone.
If you need to pass another vehicle, do so while leaving plenty of space between you and the car you are passing. Pass on the left-hand side of the vehicle when it is safe to do so. Do not hover in the lane directly next to a commercial truck, as this is in the truck driver’s blind spot. Instead, pass quickly. If you are getting back in front of a commercial truck, do not get over until there is at least 20 feet between you and the front of the truck. Only switch lanes in bad traffic on the highway when you must to get around a slower driver. Do not weave between lanes.
Distracted driving causes thousands of car accidents in Houston every year. One in five accidents involves driver distraction, according to the Texas Department of Transportation. Although texting and electronic messaging while driving is illegal in Texas, hundreds of drivers disobey this law and put others at risk.
As the traffic gets heavier in Houston, it is increasingly important for drivers to put their handheld devices down and focus on the road.
Drivers under the age of 18 cannot use handheld devices at all while driving in Texas. Use a hands-free device affixed to your vehicle if you have to use a GPS system or engage in a phone conversation while driving. Eliminate other forms of distraction as well, such as eating or personal grooming.
Dedicate 100% of your attention to the road while driving in congested traffic. Keep both hands on the wheel, both eyes on the road and your mind on the driving task.
Remember Driving Fundamentals
Many Houston car accidents arise from drivers breaking the simplest, most fundamental roadway rules. Failing to use a blinker when merging on the highway, for instance, can cause a sideswipe accident.
Always obey state traffic laws, especially as Houston traffic increases in the coming years. Use your blinkers, monitor your surroundings using your mirrors, check blind spots before merging, obey the speed limit, follow traffic control devices and signs, and be responsible with technology. Returning to the fundamentals is key for smart driving.