Texas is big. It’s 268,820 square miles big. It’s second in size only to Alaska. Ever hear the saying, “Everything’s bigger in Texas?” It’s popular for a reason.
And not only is it big, but according to the Federal Highway Administration , Texas has 303,176 miles of public roads—more than any other U.S. state.
So it stands to reason that Texas is also home to some of the country’s most dangerous roads. The following list is just a sampling of why you might want to look into a Texas-certified online defensive driving course to keep your skills sharp.
WHERE IS THE DANGER?
Using data from 2006 through 2010, a study conducted by the Texas Department of Transportation found the following roads to be particularly dangerous:
- I-45 in Harris County, TX ranked number one with over 3,000 motor vehicle crashes.
- I-10 in Harris County, TX was second in line with almost 2,000 accidents.
- I-10 in Bexar County, TX ranked third with just over 1,700 teen driver crashes.
As staggering as those statistics are, they aren’t alone. The following highways each reported more than 1,000 collisions from 2006 – 2010:
- I-35 in Travis County
- I-635 in Dallas County
- I-45 in Montgomery County
- I-35 in Bexar County
This same study showed that teenagers are the highest at-risk category. Drivers at age 16 were 4 times more likely to get into auto accidents than older drivers. Maybe signing your kids up for a Texas-approved defensive driving course isn’t such a bad idea—you want your kids to be safe, right?
The Allstate Foundation surveyed teenagers about driving, and discovered that 90% say their driving habits are heavily influenced by their parents. So, if you answered “yes” above, you might want to consider a defensive driving course for yourself as well!
TIPS FOR STAYING SAFE
Fortunately, there’s a lot you can do to mitigate risk on the road. Here are a couple easy-to-follow steps that go a long way toward keeping both you and your children safe:
- Minimize Distractions: Anything that steals focus from the road in front of you is potentially hazardous. Obviously texting and using your phone are the biggest ways people get distracted, but there are many other factors that can also influence your driving. Playing your music too loudly, having too many people in the car, eating behind the wheel, looking at a map, or otherwise not knowing where you’re going are all potential distractions. Once you recognize what distracts you, you can work toward eliminating them from your car.
- Parent-Teen Contracts: If you’re a parent and concerned about your at-risk teen’s driving (or if you’re a teenager and concerned about your parents’ driving), consider a Parent-Teen Driving Contract. There are many templates and versions available online, but basically what they do is outline expectations and responsibilities for safe driving. If you both sign the contract, you’re both more likely to follow through.
The combination of dangerous roads and inexperienced drivers is nothing to take lightly. But the good news is that with a little diligence (and maybe an online defensive driving course!) we can all make the Texas roads a little less dangerous.