Many people understand the fact that highways can be exceptionally deadly because of the speed at which cars travel, the large influx of cars in multi-lanes, and the sheer amount of distractions that can make driving difficult: from the eye-catching billboards to internal distractions like texting and talking on the phone. However, many Texans might not be aware that the state boasts some of the deadliest highways in the nation.
According to the Houston Chronicle and Houston Public Media News 88.7, approximately 700 people have lost their lives in the 200 major crashes that have occurred in July 2010 alone. This measures out to be a loss of life at a rate of 3 – 5 individuals per accident. Moreover, the research also points out that approximately 1/3 people that have died in a highway accident have done so on a Texas highway. Overall, the research works to point out that Texas highways are not only deadly, but they also create a platform where this kind of deadliness does not seem to be ebbing up anytime soon.
With this in mind, one should take special caution when driving across one of the listed Texas highways.
Deadly Texas Highways
The deadliest highways have been measured utilizing a number of reports that take into account such factors as a number of accidents, rate of deaths per accident, comparison of accident versus the loss of life, and other potentially dangerous incidents. Some of the top deadly highways in Texas, and roughly in the United States overall include:
- Interstate 20 – Ranked 1st, 332 fatalities overall.
- S. Highway 59 – Ranked 2nd, 268 fatalities overall.
- Interstate 10 – Ranked 3rd. 422 fatalities overall.
- Interstate 30 – Ranked 4th. 442 fatalities overall.
- S. Highway 83 – Ranked 5th. 135 overall fatalities.
- State Highway 72 – 22 overall fatalities.
- Interstate 45 – Ranked 7th. 211 fatalities.
- S. Highway 82 – Ranked 8th. 14 fatalities.
- S. Highway 290 – Ranked 9th. 33 fatalities overall.
- S. Highway 67 – 90 fatalities overall.
- S. Highway 67 – Ranked 10th, 11 fatalities.
- State Highway 19 – Ranked 11th (tie). 33 fatalities.
- Interstate 35 – Ranked 11th (tie). 290 fatalities in total.
- S. Highway 281 – Ranked 11th (tie). 133 fatalities in total.
- S. Highway 90- Ranked 11th(tie). 95 fatalities in total.
- S. Highway 87- Ranked 12th (tie). 95 fatalities in total.
- S. Highway 385- Ranked 12th (tie). 59 fatalities in total.
It should be noted that these highways have their fatalities based on the years of 2010 – 2014, however total fatalities since their creation also factor into total ranking. Regardless, their total rate of fatalities should be enough to speak on just how deadly these highways can be. In just four years, many of these highways have seen hundreds of lives lost, which indicates how rapidly traffic accidents can occur in these areas.
Why Are These Texas Highways So Deadly?
As mentioned, the rate of fatalities, injuries, and other negative incidents all factor in deeming a highway “deadly.” However, many individuals might wonder why there are so many traffic accidents to start with. As noted by the National Motorists Association there are a number of factors that come into play, making a highway exceptionally deadly. Among these are:
Equipment Failure – As the research points out when vehicles experience some type of failure, such as a blown tire or brake failure, the consequences can often be dire. Thus, not only is it essential for a car’s maintenance to be regularly checked, but one should also be mindful of vehicle recalls upgrades and other factors that can contribute to automobile shortcomings.
Infrastructure – As the NMA points out, the highways themselves can often be conducive to vehicle crashes. This can be as a result of an absence of multi-lanes, limited access highways, or due to poor designs or the lack of improvements to the current infrastructure.
Drinking & Driving – As many people will understand, drunk driving plays a large role in automobile crashes, especially on highways where speeds are increased. It is not only important to implement caution when drinking but to also encourage others to do so as well.
Distraction – Texting, eating, cell phones, watching movies…all of these can be especially distracting to a driver. While one should take caution when on the road, these elements should be non-existent when traveling across a speed-intensive highway. Despite that, these factors still play a role in the number of highway crashes that have been seen and thus, one should take care to forgo these activities altogether.
Causes of Accidents on Texas Highways
For Texas highways, there are also many factors that are unique to the state, such as:
Presence of Big Rigs – In the state of Texas, a lot of these highways are used by truckers to export and import goods from and into the state. Not only are these vehicles extremely large, making any accident involving them that much more deadly, but it is equally important to point out that these big trucks also have a blind spot. In fact, Texas has more fatal 18-Wheeler accidents than any other state.
Oil & Gas – The research points out that the “fracking boom”, so named for the oil and gas industry that is paramount in Texas has led to the increase of highway crashes due to the vast amount of hours that are placed upon oil and gas employees. This has led to an increase in sleep deprivation based accidents overall.
Construction – Anyone that has visited major highways in Texas is aware that many are in the process of construction, either through routine upkeep or as part of ongoing expansion. Either way, these changes to the infrastructure can often lead drivers astray, especially when not using caution, often leading to an increase in accidents.
No matter what the reasons for, Texas highways are considered extremely deadly, even in comparison to the rest of the United States. With that in mind, it is essential to perform routine checkups on your vehicle, take appropriate cautionary measures, and above all else – drive safely!
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