Texas residents who have to contend with wet, icy or snowy roads in winter should consider the following safety tips. After all, everyone is supposed to practice safe driving at all times regardless of how harsh the weather is.
Drivers in Texas may find it harder to stay awake during their commute home in the week following the end of daylight saving time. This change disrupts the body's sleep/wake cycle and circadian rhythms, and so while the body adjusts, a person will naturally feel tired. However, the risk that this poses for drivers should not be underestimated.
Town planners in Texas and around the country are staring to propose building roundabouts instead of installing traffic signals or stop signs at busy intersections. Roundabouts, which are extremely common in Europe, improve road safety and reduce traffic congestion, but they remain rare in the United States. However, that is likely to change in the years ahead as the benefits of roundabouts and the drawbacks of traditional intersections become clearer.
Just like most young adults around the country, Texas teenagers can't wait to get behind the wheel and feel the freedom and independence that driving brings. Of course, with that comes the responsibility to act safely and properly while behind the wheel, which, for many young people, is a little slower to develop than the enthusiasm for driving itself. In recognition of this, although young people who otherwise qualify may get a learner's permit at age 15, every driver under 21 must go through the Graduated Driver License Program, which bestows increasing driver status based on time and good driver performance with the ultimate goal of earning an unrestricted license.
As a large state, Texas presents motorists with long stretches of road. That's why lawmakers have chosen to raise speed limits over the years. One road even allows people to travel at 85 mph. Forty-one states have increased speed limits since the national 55 mph rule ended in 1995. Researchers looking at the possible link between higher speed limits and increased traffic fatalities determined that 36,760 extra deaths occurred nationwide due to higher speed limits.
The fall weather in Texas is not as treacherous as it is in some other parts of the country, but drivers in the Lone Star State may still be wise to take extra precautions when days start to get shorter. Falling leaves and rain showers can make road surfaces extremely slippery, and traffic is heavier during morning and afternoon commutes when schools and colleges are open.
There were 80 fatal car accidents nationwide linked to aggressive driving in 2006 according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. By 2015, that number had grown to 467. Road rage incidents in Texas and around the country are often blamed on angry young men, but a survey conducted by the American Automobile Association in 2016 suggests that the problem is far more widespread. A worrying 80% of the motorists polled by the organization's Foundation for Traffic Safety admitted that they had engaged in aggressive and dangerous behavior triggered by anger within the preceding 12 months.
Running a red light is one of the most dangerous actions a Texas driver can take. A June 2019 survey from AAA found that 85% of respondents said that they understood the dangers of doing so. However, about one-third of respondents said that they had gone through a red light within the past 30 days. According to AAA, there were 939 people killed in accidents involving drivers who ran red lights in 2017, which was a 28% increase from 2012.
Advanced technology safety features are increasingly standard equipment in new vehicles in Texas, but they may not be as safe or capable as people believe them to be. Automatic emergency braking, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, may reduce rear end crash rates by as much as 50% and could lower the total number of crashes reported to police by 20%. The sensors technologies like autonomous driving rely on, though, are not very good at some important things.
Over the past three decades, the number of drunk driving fatalities has gone down by a third. Still, more than 10,000 people in the U.S. died in drunk driving crashes every year between 2006 and 2016. This trend is showing no signs of ending in Texas. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 30 people die each day in drunk driving accidents.