Highway accidents are often more severe than your standard motor vehicle accident. Drivers are moving at faster speeds and have less time to react to any sudden changes. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, Highway Loss Data Institute (IIHS-HLDI) reports that there were 3,343 fatal crashes in Texas during 2017. Many of these fatal crashes took place on the highway, specifically Interstate 45 (I-45).
Connecting Dallas and Houston, I-45 is an important highway that gained notoriety during Hurricane Rita in 2005. Thousands of people were looking to leave Houston and seek shelter further north. As a result, the highway became jammed and was effectively turned into a parking lot.
When natural disasters are not imminent, many Houston residents will take I-45 and head south to Galveston. This portion of the highway is commonly referred to as the Gulf Freeway. With spring and summer on the horizon, the Gulf Freeway will become increasingly saturated with vacation travelers. This influx of traffic will inevitably lead to serious highway accidents that could have been avoided.
What Are the Most Common Causes of Car Accidents on Interstate 45?
Our Houston car accident attorneys want you to remain safe while driving on Interstate 45. There are several common causes of car accidents along this highway. They include:
- Improperly merging: Many people do not know how to properly merge onto an interstate. Cars on the highway are already moving at a fast speed. Therefore, you must gradually increase your speed while driving on a merging lane. This will help you keep up with the current flow of traffic. Stopping at the end of a merging lane will only increase your risk of becoming involved in an accident.
- Cutting in front of tractor-trailers and semi-trucks: Tractor-trailers and semi-trucks consistently outweigh cars by a large margin. The average tractor-trailer or semi-truck typically weighs more than 20,000 pounds. This is considerably larger than the average car, which weighs around 2,500 pounds. If you are involved in an accident with a tractor-trailer or semi-truck, then your injuries will likely be severe. You should always give larger vehicles plenty of room and remain careful when driving around them.
- Failing to adequately service your car: Often times, a person’s car will break down on the highway, resulting in a perfectly avoidable accident. Before hitting the road, you should always make sure that your car is fully serviced. This includes accomplishing smaller tasks like changing the oil, rotating tires and checking your tire pressure. By doing this, you can help keep yourself safe and make I-45 a much safer highway.
- Entering into highway hypnosis: When driving long distances on I-45, many drivers have a tendency to zone out and lose focus of their surroundings. Members of the medical community often refer to this as highway hypnosis. It is defined as a half-conscious state where the non-thinking part of the brain is aware of the road, and the thinking part of the brain is shut off. To avoid highway hypnosis, there are several tricks that you can implement. First, it is important to get a good night’s sleep before attempting to drive long distances. Second, you should take advantage of highway rest stops and take a break every couple of hours. Finally, whenever possible, you should bring a travel companion and alternate driving every couple of hours.
Driving on Interstate 45? Follow the Advice of Our Houston Car Accident Attorneys
While car accidents occur every day in Texas, highway accidents more often result in severe injuries and fatalities. People driving on I-45 deserve to feel safe and know that other drivers are obeying traffic laws and following speed limits. Although every person has a different experience on the road, there are certain bad driving habits that everyone should avoid. This includes simple things like taking your eyes off of the road and driving under the influence.
Our Houston car accident attorneys want your highway driving experience to remain