Houston Traffic Accidents Abound in the Rain

Written by Greg on February 16, 2013

Today is another example of what rain and slick streets can do to compound the traffic problem that already exist in the Houston area.  A four-car accident blocked traffic on the Gulf Freeway for several hours this morning resulting in another lengthy delay for commuting Houstonians.

Rain contributes to car accidents in two ways, first, the roadways become slick and stopping in a timely manner can be difficult.  Such things as hydroplaning are often the cause of a serious injury car accident.  Second, the visibility is often very limited in the rain, particularly a heavy rain.  When drivers do not slow down for the conditions, it can be extremely dangerous.

Slowing down on the highways such as Interstate 45 or US 59 can be hard to do without being run over.  In rush-hour traffic, from 7 to 9 AM and 4 to 6 PM, it is very hard to drive slowly without being the brunt of angry drivers.

Commercial drivers are supposed to use extra caution when they are driving in hazardous conditions such as rain or sleet.  That usually means–slowdown.  Allow extra distance between yourself and the car in front of you is a prudent thing to do.  However as set forth above, in Houston that is extremely hard to do during rush-hour traffic.  If you leave extra distance to allow for safe stopping, another vehicle simply takes the spot and you are again left with a hazardous situation.

The Texas Department of Public Safety provides tips for driving in the rain, they recommend:

*Replacing old wiper blades.

*Stay in the middle lanes–as water tends to collect in the outside lanes

*Maintain proper distance between your vehicle and one in front of you–follow the 3-second rule–an increase it for what weather.

*Driving the tracks of the vehicle ahead of you.

*Don’t follow big rigs.

*Never drive beyond the limits of visibility.  Visibility is radically reduce pullover and a safe place and wait for the rain to stop.

There are three main factors that contribute to hydroplaning, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety:

1. vehicle speed,

2. tire tread depth, and

3. the depth of the water on the roadway.

A good resource for drivers concerned about what weather driving can be found at the Texas Department of Insurance website.

Greg Baumgartner is a  personal injury attorney and also the founder of the Baumgartner Law Firm, which is located at

6711 FM 1960 West, Houston, Tx  77069,       281-587-1111.

Posted Under: Safety

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