Houston Safe Driving Advice

Of all the cities in Texas, Houston has a longstanding reputation for having the worst traffic. This means if you want to stay safe on the roads, you need to practice some serious defensive driving. Houston and surrounding Harris County cities recorded 316 fatal car crashes in 2009. That’s more than twice the number of auto accident fatalities documented in any other Texas county for that year. 17% of the 428,667 Texas motor vehicle accidents in 2009 occurred in Harris County. This isn’t surprising considering Houston is the fourth largest city in the U.S. You’ll need all your skills to navigate the busy streets.

Tips for Driving in Heavy Traffic

The most important skill for driving in clogged, rush hour traffic is your ability to keep your cool when those around you are losing theirs. Remember that aggressive driving is already too common in Houston. Defensive driving means making decisions that will get you home safely – even if that means you get where you want to go more slowly.

  • Don't follow too closely – even though someone may try to squeeze in front of you.
  • Brake slowly and smoothly so the person behind you has time to stop as well.
  • Avoid excessive lane changing. Collisions during transitions from one lane to the next are common since heavy traffic means someone is likely to be in your blind spot.
  • Don't drive much faster or much slower than the drivers around you. That way, other drivers will have to make fewer decisions about how to respond to your vehicle.
  • Keep an eye out several cars ahead of you to spot brake lights before the “domino effect” of sudden braking reaches you.

Intersections to Watch Out For

Houston is teeming with intersections that are notorious for traffic light violations that result in accidents. Here are just a few of the worst offenders:

  • Highway 290 @ Senate Drive, West Rd, Jones Rd, FM 529, FM 1960, Barker Cypress Rd, Huffmeister Rd
  • 59 @ Beechnut, Hillcroft, Chimney Rock, Beltway 8, 610
  • Sam Houston Parkway @ Beechnut, Bissonnet, Southwest Freeway, Telephone
  • Tomball Parkway @ FM 1960
  • Southwest Freeway @ Chimney Rock, Hillcroft, Beechnut, Greenbriar, Shepherd, Westpark, Bissonnet, Wilcrest, Loop 9, Bellaire, Weslayan
  • Katy Freeway @ Highway 6, Gessner, Silber, Barker Cypress
  • North Freeway @ Parker Rd, Main, West Rd, Rankin Rd
  • Gulf Freeway at@ Edgebrook, Fuqua, Monroe, El Dorado Blvd

Get the Scoop on Daily Traffic

traffic jam

There's no way to completely avoid traffic in Houston.

But sites like HoustonTranStar.org and TrafficReport.com can help you minimize the number of hours per week you spend dealing with frustrated drivers on clogged roads.