Houston — the fourth-most populous city in the U.S. — is understandably notorious for its traffic problems. The sheer size and density of the city contribute to long commutes, congestion, and, inevitably, collisions.
As vehicles on the road increase, so does the likelihood of accidents. With more cars, trucks, and motorcycles sharing the roads and highways, the chances of minor fender benders to catastrophic and fatal injury crashes rise significantly.To give you an idea, in 2022 alone, there were 244,092 persons injured in motor vehicle traffic crashes in Texas. Here, we’ll take a look at some of the most common causes of car accidents.
A recent survey highlighted that Texas ranked No. 8 among U.S. states and the District of Columbia, with a 14% rate of distracted-driving incidents in just the first half of 2023. That’s a significant number and shows how crucial it is for drivers to stay focused on the road. In 2021 alone, there were 436 people killed in crashes involving distracted driving, marking an 18.16% increase from 2020.
Driving requires our full attention. But with smartphones buzzing and so many things happening around us, it’s easy to get sidetracked. Distracted driving is a major concern, especially in a bustling city like Houston. And it’s not just about texting or making a call. Anything that takes your attention away from the road — changing the radio station, chatting with a passenger, or even daydreaming, can be a distraction.
Driving under the influence (DUI) remains a pressing issue in Texas, leading to numerous accidents and tragic outcomes. While alcohol is a common factor in many DUI incidents, it’s crucial to note that impairment can also arise from the use of other drugs, both legal and illegal.
The Texas Department of Public Safety reported that nearly 90,000 drivers were pulled over on suspicion of intoxicated driving in 2021. Sadly, the 2021 Texas Motor Vehicle Report found that 1,141 people were killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes where a driver was under the influence of alcohol, accounting for 25.37% of the total number of people killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes.
To safeguard yourself and your loved ones:
If you find yourself in an unfortunate situation involving a DUI driver, prioritize your safety. Call 911 immediately and seek medical attention, even if you feel fine. Injuries might not be apparent right away.
If you can, Document the scene, gather witness information, and avoid discussing fault with the other driver. It’s essential to consult with legal counsel promptly. An experienced Houston car accident lawyer can guide you through the process, fighting to make sure your rights are protected and helping you seek the compensation you deserve.
Inexperienced drivers, often young and new to the road, pose unique challenges to road safety in Texas. While enthusiasm and excitement about driving can be infectious, it can sometimes overshadow the importance of caution and understanding of road rules.
Learning to drive is a rite of passage for many, but with it comes the responsibility of ensuring not just one’s safety but also that of others on the road. Inexperience can lead to misjudgments in distance, speed, and timing. Simple tasks for seasoned drivers, like merging onto a highway or navigating through a busy intersection, can be daunting for those new behind the wheel.
If you or a loved one is involved in an accident with an inexperienced driver, it’s crucial to understand your rights and the potential complexities of the situation. Consulting with a personal injury attorney can provide clarity and guidance, ensuring that you navigate the aftermath with the best possible advice and support.
Wrong-lane driving is a perilous error that can lead to severe accidents. In Texas, vehicles should drive on the right side, but confusion at intersections, roundabouts, or highways can lead to mistakes. Factors like poor signage, unfamiliarity with roads, or driver distraction contribute to these errors.
The Texas Department of Transportation works to improve road signs and raise awareness about this issue. If you encounter a wrong-way driver, slow down, pull over safely, and alert authorities. If involved in a wrong-lane accident, it’s essential to document the scene and consult a personal injury attorney to understand your rights and potential compensation.
Tailgating, the act of following another vehicle too closely, is a common yet dangerous driving behavior often seen on Texas roads. This aggressive driving habit reduces the tailgater’s reaction time, making it difficult to stop suddenly without causing a rear-end collision. Factors like impatience, road rage, or a simple lack of understanding of safe following distances contribute to tailgating.
The Texas Department of Public Safety advises maintaining a safe following distance, typically a minimum of one car length for every 10 mph. If you’re being tailgated, switching lanes or pulling over safely is best to let the aggressive driver pass. In a tailgating-induced accident, documenting the scene and seeking legal counsel can help understand your rights and potential remedies.
Fatigue behind the wheel is a silent but significant hazard on Texas roads. Driving while drowsy impairs reaction time, judgment, and decision-making, similar to the effects of alcohol or drugs. Long work hours, lack of quality sleep, or certain medications can lead to driver fatigue.
If you suspect a driver is fatigued, maintain a safe distance and, if possible, alert authorities. In accidents involving a fatigued driver, gathering evidence, witness accounts, and consulting a personal injury attorney to navigate the legalities is crucial.
Road conditions play a pivotal role in ensuring the safety of drivers, passengers, and pedestrians alike. Common road hazards such as potholes, uneven pavement, lack of proper signage, inadequate lighting, and water accumulation can pose significant risks to motorists. Conditions like ice patches, snow accumulation, and fallen leaves can further exacerbate these risks in areas with seasonal weather changes. While drivers are expected to exercise caution, the onus is also on the authorities to ensure that roads are well-maintained and safe for travel.
In many states, including Texas, the government or the entity responsible for maintaining the road can be held liable for accidents caused by poor road conditions.
Proving that the state or local government was negligent in its duty to maintain the road can be challenging, though. It often requires showing that the government knew or should have known about the dangerous condition and failed to address it in a reasonable time frame. Engaging a knowledgeable traffic accident lawyer can provide invaluable assistance in navigating these complexities and advocating for your rights.
One of the most common traffic violations that can lead to accidents is the failure to yield at a stop sign. This simple oversight or deliberate act can result in dangerous collisions, especially at intersections where traffic from multiple directions converges. In Texas, as in most states, drivers approaching a stop sign must come to a complete stop and yield the right-of-way to any vehicle in the intersection or approaching closely enough to be a hazard.
However, impatience, distractions, or misjudgment of another vehicle’s speed can lead drivers to roll through stop signs or fail to yield appropriately. Such actions can lead to side-impact or “T-bone” collisions, which can be particularly severe given the vulnerability of a vehicle’s sides compared to its front or rear.
Drivers need to understand the importance of adhering to stop sign rules, not just for their safety but for the safety of all road users. If involved in an accident due to another driver’s failure to yield at a stop sign, consulting with a personal injury attorney can help determine liability and potential compensation.
Vehicle defects, whether due to manufacturing errors or wear and tear, can pose serious risks on the road. Faulty brakes, malfunctioning lights, or tire blowouts can lead to unpredictable accidents, endangering both the driver and others on the road.
In Texas, drivers are responsible for ensuring their vehicles are roadworthy. However, the manufacturer may be held liable when defects arise from manufacturing issues. Recalls are often issued for known problems, but not all issues are caught in time. It’s crucial for drivers to regularly inspect their vehicles and address potential problems. If an accident occurs due to a vehicle defect, a personal injury attorney can provide guidance on potential legal actions.
At Johnson Garcia, we pride ourselves on our deep experience in car accident cases. Our dedicated attorneys are committed to our clients and will fight for them to secure the justice they deserve. If you’ve faced the misfortune of a car accident, know that we are here to go to bat for you. We understand the intricacies of auto accident claims, and our lawyers will tirelessly advocate on your behalf.
If you’ve been in a car accident in Houston, reach out to us online or give us a call at 832-844-6700. Our dedicated Houston car accident lawyers, backed by over 35 years of experience, are here to provide the support you deserve.