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The city of Houston, Texas is one of the most dangerous metro regions for driving in the United States. Houston’s very own I-45 is considered the most lethal road in the country—averaging 56.5 fatal accidents per 100 miles.

If you’re tasked with the challenge of navigating Houston’s busy streets and highways, you’re likely to get experience your fair share of slowdowns, observe outbursts of road rage, and witness a number of unfortunate accidents.

With that said, taking precautions, practicing defensive driving habits, and being aware of scenarios where accidents typically occur can help you get in and out of Houston unscathed.

Here are seven of the most common types of accidents you should beware of when driving in Houston!

1. Semi-Truck Incidents

Semi-trucks are large vehicles that are used to lug commercial trailers, flatbeds, and other heavy loads throughout Houston. Because Houston is home to multiple trucking companies and facilities, you’re likely to see these large vehicles on most of the city’s major highways.

Given the immense weight of a semi-truck compared to a smaller passenger car, semi-truck incidents often include injuries and fatalities.

Jackknife incidents can occur while semi-trucks are hauling heavy cargo, but accidents can also occur while the driver is bobtailing or deadheading—traveling without cargo.

Some of the most common types of semi-truck accidents in Houston include rear-end impacts, sideswipe crashes, intersection crashes, and head-on crashes. These incidents have a variety of causes—substance impairment, speeding, drowsy driving, distracted driving, and lack of skill or experience, to name only a few.

2. Head-On Crashes

Head-on crashes are widely regarded as the most dangerous types of accidents, as they involve two vehicles that are traveling in two opposite directions. Although they make up just 2% of all accidents, they account for over 10% of all driving fatalities.

While you might expect these types of accidents to occur most often at intersections, you’re more likely to be involved in a side-impact collision in these circumstances.

Rather, head-on collisions most often occur when traffic is traveling in two opposite directions and a vehicle drifts across the center of the road and into another lane of traffic. Of course, the party who drifts into the other lane is typically at fault in a head-on collision.

To avoid a head-on crash, stay alert, obey traffic lights, and keep an eye out for Houston’s one-way signs!

3. Rear-End Collisions

Particularly in a congested area such as Houston, you can expect there to be an abundance of rear-end collisions.

This type of accident is common on roads where there is stop-and-start traffic, as drivers are prone to speeding, tailgating, and being distracted by cell phones and other objects.

In a rear-end crash, the driver who collides with the car in front of them is almost always the party at fault. If you’re not the party at fault—which is usually the vehicle that is being hit from behind—you may experience whiplash or other trauma to your back, neck, or spinal cord.

To avoid causing a rear-end collision during your time in Houston, obey the speed limit, leave plenty of distance between your vehicle and the one in front of you, and pay attention to the road at all times.

4. Side-Impact Accidents

The side-impact accident—often referred to as a “T-bone” accident—occurs most often at intersections when a driver fails to stop, neglects a yield sign, or disregards a red light.

Because the main point of impact is at the side of the vehicle, where there is the least amount of protection for the car’s occupants, there is always the potential for injury or death. Although drivers can be injured or killed in these types of accidents, it’s important to note that passengers are equally susceptible.

Prevent side-impact collisions by obeying Houston’s road signs and traffic lights, and by always looking both ways when passing through an intersection!

5. Sideswipe Incidents

Sideswipe incidents happen when opposite sides of two different vehicles come in contact with each other. As you would imagine, this type of accident tends to occur when one car attempts a lane change that isn’t fully clear.

Because the vehicles involved are usually traveling parallel to each other during impact, these accidents aren’t usually fatal—although they are fairly common and often result in injury to one or more parties.

Whenever you prepare to change lanes, make sure you always use your mirrors and look over your shoulder to confirm that there are no vehicles in your blind spot.

6. Single-Vehicle Incidents

While you would expect a Houston accident to typically include more than one vehicle, single-vehicle incidents are fairly common and can occur for a variety of reasons.

In 2017, Houston was named America’s largest party city. Unfortunately, with partying comes drinking, and some Houston drivers get behind the wheel while under the influence. Of course, this often results in crashes with other vehicles but it also results in collisions with trees, guardrails, streetlights, and other objects.

Single-vehicle accidents can also occur on roads that are severely damaged or under construction. Due to the city’s heavy population and many vehicles, Houston’s streets and highways constantly need to be repaired and improved. Unfortunately for its drivers, potholes and uneven surfaces can cause serious damage to vehicles.

Finally, these incidents can also be caused by vehicle defects. In 2019, vehicle defects were contributing factors in over 9,000 Texas accidents.

7. Rollover Accidents

A rollover accident occurs when a vehicle rotates onto its side or roof. Rollover accidents can have disastrous consequences, although they don’t typically involve collisions with other vehicles.

Rather, they are usually the result of a driver losing control of their vehicle—whether it’s due to speeding, driving in poor conditions, misjudging a turn, or attempting to avoid another vehicle or object.

Monitor your speed, decelerate around curves, and avoid jerking your steering wheel while navigating turns. It’s also critical that you always wear a seatbelt, as a rollover accident can cause serious brain, neck, or spinal cord damage to those who are unrestrained.

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