For Texas residents, a Houston crash is a deadly event. A Houston Chronicle analysis of 16 years’ worth of federal highway data has named Houston as the deadliest major metropolitan area in the nation for drivers, passengers, and pedestrians. The report states that roughly 640 people die each year on Houston-area roads, and about 2,950 more are severely injured. So, whether you call Houston home or you just frequent the area, there are a few intersections you may want to avoid more than others.
Why Are Houston Roads So Dangerous?
The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) reports that there were 68,682 motor vehicle accidents in 2019. A few reasons the Houston area is becoming so dangerous to drive in are:
- Growing population: Between 1990 and 2018, the population in Houston grew by more than 39%. As our population surged from 1.7 million to 2.36 million, so did the number of vehicles traveling on our roadways, and our infrastructure is struggling to keep up. The increased traffic has caused inefficient intersections, leading to traffic congestion and risky behaviors from drivers.
- Long commutes: Four out of five people commute by car to and from work each day. Most workers drive alone to work and now spend an average of 29.5 minutes traveling in each direction.
- Roads designed for maximum speed: To move as many vehicles as possible as quickly as possible, many portions of Houston roads have been designed for a high speed of travel. This includes the Grand Parkway, where the speed limit is 75 mph in some portions.
- Lack of law enforcement: Traffic violations such as speeding, texting while driving, and failure to provide pedestrians and cyclists with space has only been lightly enforced in Houston. Although our population has boomed and the miles driven has risen over 23%, Houston police officers ticketed 41% fewer drivers in 2017 than in 2012.
- Politician opposition to automated enforcement: State lawmakers have restricted the use of red-light cameras, speed cameras, and sobriety checkpoints.
- Inaccessibility for pedestrians: Houston has over 6,200 miles of paved roadway of various widths, with fewer than half of those miles featuring sidewalks. With just under 300 miles of on-street bike lanes, Houston frequently offers cyclists and pedestrians no place to go other than right into traffic.
Some of the most significant safety risks at intersections are speeding, unsafe left turns, and failure to abide by the right-of-way.
LINK Houston, a nonprofit agency that advocates for a robust and equitable transportation network in Houston, released a report in 2018 that depicted the following intersections as the most dangerous for pedestrians and cyclists:
- 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
Pedestrian–vehicle accidents often lead to severe injuries that can lead to death.
Car accidents happen everywhere in Houston, but there are twelve intersections that have been deemed to be the most dangerous overall, regardless of whether you are a driver, passenger, or pedestrian:
- 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
- Main Street and Sam Houston Parkway
Four-way intersections tend to draw the highest volume of traffic, which often creates inefficiencies and leads to road rage, which increases accident rates.
If you or someone you care about has been injured or killed at a dangerous Houston intersection, you may have the right to pursue compensation for your damages. At Sutliff & Stout, our team of experienced Board–Certified personal injury attorneys have the extensive knowledge required to formulate a solid defense for your claim.