Houston, Texas is home to some of the most dangerous roads in the nation. Statistically speaking, drivers in Houston are more likely to get into an accident than drivers in cities that are much, much larger – like Los Angeles.
Why? Houston is growing rapidly. In 1990, roughly 1.7 million people lived in Houston. By 2018, the population surged to 2.36 million – an increase of more than 39 percent.
In turn, there are more vehicles traveling the city’s road than ever before. Houston’s infrastructure wasn’t designed to accommodate so much traffic. So, the city’s roads are congested and overcrowded. In fact, over the course of a year, drivers in Houston spend roughly 119 hours sitting in rush hour traffic.
Where Do Most Car Accidents in Houston Occur?
When roads are are (or above) capacity, accidents are bound to happen. Drivers have less space to navigate and stop their vehicles. While sitting in traffic, drivers tend to get distracted by their phones. After spending hours in rush hour traffic, motorists are more likely to engage in risky and dangerous behaviors behind the wheel.
According to the Texas Department of Transportation, there were 64,126 car accidents in Houston in 2018. That reflects a 7 percent increase in the number of collisions on Houston city roads in a short 5-year period.
Accidents can and do happen just about anywhere in Houston. However, there are certain intersections that tend to be the home of more collisions than other places in the city.
Dangerous intersections in Houston:
- JFK and Aldine Bender
- Highway 225 between Shaver and Scarborough Lane
- I-45 feeder road at Chartres Street
- East Freeway frontage road at the intersection of Gellhorn Drive
- 610 Loop and North McCarty
- Greens Road and I-45
- Sam Houston Parkway and Westheimer Road
- Main Street and South Loop
- Beechnut Street and Sam Houston Parkway
- Bissonnet Street and Sam Houston Parkway, and
- Main Street and Sam Houston Parkway.
Across the nation, roughly 40% of all car accidents occur at or near an intersection. So, the fact that these intersections are home to a lot of the traffic accidents in Houston is not surprising.
Houston Has Three of the Nation’s Most Dangerous Roads
Additionally, three highways in Houston rank as some of the most dangerous in the entire United States. In evaluating crash data published by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), ValuePenguin determined that three Houston highways were among the 50 most dangerous roads in the country.
I-10 ranked as the fifth most dangerous road in the United States. Between 2010 and 2016, there were 585 fatal car accidents on the highway. The most dangerous stretch of I-10 runs through Harris County and Houston.
US-290 and US-59 also made the list, with 390 and 212 fatal accidents, respectively.
Roads in Houston Reporting the Highest Number of Non-Fatal Accidents
Car accidents don’t always happen at a crossroads. Nor are all accidents fatal. In fact, the majority of all traffic accidents in the Houston area do not end in death. However, many of these accidents do tend to happen in and around the same places. According to the Houston Chronicle, the most dangerous roads in Houston – those reporting the highest number of non-fatal crashes – include:
- Cullen Boulevard
- South Post Oak Road
- Airline Drive
- West Tidwell Road
- Hillcroft Avenue
- North Shephard Drive
- Antoine Drive
- Garth Road
- Fondren Road
- Clay Road
- Louttea Road
- Kuykendahl Road
- Veterans Memorial Drive
- Fry Road
- Main Street
- Bisonette Street
- West Little York Road
- Beechnut Road
- Bellaire Boulevard, and
- Westheimer Road.
All of these roads reported anywhere between 300 and 1,250 non-fatal traffic accidents in 2018.
Why Are Intersections in Houston Dangerous?
On an average day, there are roughly 175 car accidents in Houston. About 70 of those accidents will occur at or near an intersection. Why is this the case? Intersections are particularly dangerous because there are so many moving parts. It’s where motorists traveling in four different directions meet. It’s where pedestrians leave the safety of a sidewalk and cross the road. It’s where bicyclists are most likely to cross paths with larger vehicles.
Everyone has an obligation to use caution when approaching and passing through an intersection. Everyone has a duty to understand Houston’s rules and laws concerning intersections – including who has the right of way, who has the obligation to yield, and what different traffic signals mean. Unfortunately, not everyone uses care and caution. Not everyone knows their obligations and how they are supposed to interact with other travelers.
As a result, the following things are all too common:
- Drivers speed up, rather than slow down, to “beat” a red or yellow light
- Drivers are distracted and fail to see bicyclists or pedestrians crossing the road
- Drivers stop paying attention when stopped at a red light and get rear-ended by other vehicles when the light changes
- Pedestrians are distracted and walk out into oncoming traffic
- Drivers fail to yield the right of way to pedestrians
- Drivers turn right-on-red in violation of posted signage
- Drivers fail to accurately assess how much time they have to turn in front of oncoming traffic while making a left-hand turn, and
- Drivers, bicyclists, and/or pedestrians blatantly ignore traffic signals.
Anyone can get hurt in an accident at an intersection in Houston. Sadly, it’s the pedestrians and bicyclists who tend to get hurt the most.
Pedestrian Accidents in Texas on the Rise
Accidents involving pedestrians are, as a general rule, declining across the United States. However, pedestrians in Texas and cities like Houston don’t appear to be any safer than they were years ago. In 2017, 10% of all pedestrian fatalities in the United States were in the state of Texas.
In a report published by the Governor’s Highway Safety Association, Texas saw a 12% rise in the number of fatal pedestrian accidents between 2017 and 2018. In the first half of 2017, the state reported 266 pedestrian fatalities. In the same period in 2018, the number of pedestrian deaths rose to 298.
The vast majority of pedestrian accidents and fatalities occur at intersections. This is where pedestrians are most likely to cross paths with large vehicles. Crash data shows that the following intersections tend to be particularly dangerous for those on foot:
- West Belfort and Fondren
- South Voss and Westheimer
- Gessner and Westview
- Wheeler and Main Street
- Main Street and Pierce Street
Why are these intersections, in particular, more dangerous than others for pedestrians? These roads tend to be jam-packed around rush hour. Many have two or more lanes traveling in each direction. Others are located in close proximity to popular shopping destinations, each of which have their own entrances, exits, and driveways. This simply means that there are more people driving and more people on foot. The busier a location is, the greater the chance there is for something to go wrong.
What Should I Do If I’m Injured in a Car Accident at an Intersection in Houston?
Intersection accidents can range from minor rear-end collisions to much more devastating side-impact collisions and rollovers. Regardless of the kind of wreck you’re involved in, there are certain steps you should always try to take. These will not only help to keep you safe, but also serve to support future claims for compensation you might file down the line.
Move Away From the Scene: Intersections are busy. If you can, try to move yourself and your vehicle away from the scene of the accident. By remaining, you endanger yourself and increase the likelihood of a subsequent collision. Oncoming traffic might not see you or be able to stop in time before slamming into your stopped car.
Report the Accident: Call the police or 911 and report the accident as soon as you can. An officer will be sent to the scene to investigate and complete a police report. The report can be critical down the line, as it might contain details about your accident that are easy to forget – such as the time of day, traffic conditions, and what the weather was like.
Get Medical Help: See a doctor, even if you don’t think you’ve been injured. A rear-end collision can easily cause whiplash, and other types of collisions can cause severe internal trauma. Those types of injuries might not be noticeable right away. You’re more likely to get the treatment you need and limit the likelihood of complications if you see a doctor as soon as you can after your accident. Additionally, your visit will generate a medical report. This can be really helpful in establishing a causal link between your Houston car accident and your injuries.
Don’t Apologize: As much as you might want to, try to refrain from apologizing. Certainly don’t admit fault or accept liability. Doing so could prevent you from getting some or all of the money you deserve.
Direct Questions to Your Lawyer: Don’t try to negotiate with an insurance company or other parties on your own. The best course of action is to remain as silent as you can and direct all communication to your Houston personal injury lawyer. Your attorney can handle every aspect of your case and fight to get you the money you deserve while you focus on getting better.
Call Our Houston Car Accident Lawyers For Help After Your Intersection Accident
Have you been injured in an accident on a dangerous road or at an intersection in Houston, TX? Call the experienced Houston intersection accident attorneys at Brian White & Associates for immediate assistance. You might be entitled to compensation, and our team can help you demand all fo the money you deserve. We offer a free consultation, so contact our law office today to schedule yours today.