The city of Houston has more than 6,200 miles of roadways, with millions of motorists traveling inside city limits each year. With this many drivers, Houston and the surrounding area can get very congested with drivers, quickly becoming bumper-to-bumper traffic.
Regardless of if you’re a newly licensed driver or someone that’s been commuting for decades, Houston can present a difficult driving situation. Constant construction, erratic drivers, and ever-changing weather conditions are just a few of the challenges facing drivers in the greater Houston metro area.
It may sound redundant, but the best driving practices to keep you safe, are the basics you likely learned in driving school. If the worst happens though, remember that you deserve professional and experienced legal counsel. Contact the experienced car accident lawyers at Sutliff & Stout the next time you get into an accident in Houston.
It may seem obvious, but be sure to click on your seatbelt before putting your vehicle in drive! Thousands of individuals are injured every year from either not wearing their seat belt or wearing it improperly!
Your seatbelt should be strapped across your chest, and snug to your body. Seatbelts are one of the most effective and proven tools to keep you safe in case of an accident. Multiple studies have found that wearing a seatbelt during an accident reduces your chance of being killed by an average of 60 percent.
This rule also applies to any younger passenger who may be in your vehicle. Making sure that any child is secured with a seatbelt before you pull away from your parking spot should be priority number one.
If they are riding in a car seat, we recommend reviewing the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) guidelines on car seats and booster seats. Properly fitting your child in a car seat that fits them is one of the simplest ways to keep them safe while on the road.
Inspect your Vehicle
Houston weather can really take a toll on your vehicle. Sitting on the Gulf of Mexico can bring torrential rain and high winds during a large portion of the year. In recent years, freezes and low temperatures are becoming more and more frequent.
Before you even turn your vehicle on, you should verify that your tires are in good, working order. Tires should be inspected no less than once per month. An easy trick to confirm your tread is still good is referred to as the penny trick.
Start by placing a penny upside down in between the tread of your tires. If you can see the top of President Lincoln’s head, you should probably invest in new tires.
Additionally, you should probably check your fluids regularly, at least once a week. Between coolant, brake fluids, power steering, and windshield washer fluids, a full inspection of your fluids can prevent costly repairs in the future.
Before leaving for any drive, you should be aware of any potential weather advisories that are happening in your area. Construction projects should also be noted.
At times this may be unavoidable, but running into a construction zone can add significant traffic to your drive and potentially add unpredicted challenges. When construction crews are busy working, they will at times need to stop traffic and even shut down roadways if necessary. Avoiding these areas so you can safely arrive at your destination on time is recommended at times.
Practice Defensive Driving Techniques
It’s fair to say that Houston drivers can be aggressive at times. Houston drivers are known to speed regardless of conditions or traffic. The best thing to counter behavior like this is to practice tried-and-true defensive driving practices.
Defensive driving techniques include a variety of basic safe driving practices including not speeding, staying calm, and ultimately surveying and being aware of your surroundings. Aggressive drivers can be unpredictable on the road. Anticipating their behavior can be difficult. If all else fails, pull over when it’s safe to do so or keep your distance from the opposing vehicle.
Try to find a local defensive driving instructor in your area to assist with the best modern practices. We also recommend contacting your insurance provider for recommendations. It’s even possible that your insurance will offer you a discount if you take a defensive driving class, as many insurance providers do.
Never Drive Impaired
This may seem obvious, but please, never get behind the wheel if you are impaired. In 2020, 11,654 individuals lost their lives from drunk driving-related accidents in the U.S., a staggering total.
According to the NHTSA, 30% of all traffic fatalities in the United States involve a drunk driver. Drunk driving in America has become an epidemic of sorts, with at least 10,000 people dying each year in alcohol-involved accidents every year since 2011. On average in the U.S., an individual is killed every 45 minutes in a drunk driving-related accident. These deaths are preventable and have long-term consequences for those that survive.
Driving while intoxicated is illegal in every state in the country. There is no situation in which driving under the influence is permitted. Being pulled over while under the influence can result in a range of punishments including misdemeanors and felony charges, thousands of dollars in fines, and jail time.
A Helping Hand
If you find yourself navigating Houston’s roadways, and unfortunately are involved in an accident, know that help is available. When filing a claim for your accident, know the best tool to have in your pocket is a knowledgeable and experienced legal counsel. Our team at Sutliff & Stout has the knowledge and expertise to help guide you through a challenging time.
Our lawyers have multiple decades of experience combined, and that experience will make the difference when negotiating with insurance companies. To get help now, you can call us now at 713-987-7111.