Road safety is important all over the world, but every region is home to its own perils and dangers about which motorists should be informed. For those who are driving in Texas, for example, snowstorms and icy roads are not often an issue, but clogged freeways, roadway construction zones and errant bicyclists do come into play.
If you’re going to be on the road in Houston or other Texas cities, keep these 10 tips in mind:
1. Plan Your Route. Construction is common on Texas highways, and traffic can upset even the most laid-back driver. Watch or listen to the news before heading out, and give yourself enough time to reach your destination – even if I-45 has been narrowed to one lane.
2. Keep Aggression in Check. Texas motorists who display aggression on the road can be fined up to $200 for their road-rage exploits. Keep your temper under wraps regardless of what you think of the other drivers.
3. Maintain Distance. It’s rare to get on the road in Texas and not encounter an 18-wheeler. When large trucks come up in your rearview mirror, keep them in the corner of your eye and maintain a safe distance.
4. Beware Sleep Deprivation. It takes hours to drive across Texas, so long road trips can become a problem. If you need to stay behind the wheel for an extended period of time, plan to stay in a hotel overnight and stop every couple of hours to stretch your legs and rest your eyes.
5. Pass to the Left. On Texas highways, the left lane is for passing while the right lanes are for driving. If you need to get over into the left lane, travel only until you pass slower-moving cars before you merge back to the right. This maintains the flow of traffic and keeps road confrontations to a minimum.
6. Watch for Standing Water. While snow might not be a problem in Houston and other Texas cities, rain can throw a wrench into your driving plans. Don’t try to cross deep water, and if you find yourself stalled, exit your vehicle and make your way to higher ground.
7. Hang Up. Don’t make calls on your cell phone or send text messages while driving on Texas roads. Driver distraction causes many of the accidents in Texas, according to TXDOT, so wait until you can pull over or until you reach your destination.
8. Know Your Car. Identify blind spots and practice backing up when you get a new vehicle.
9. Watch for Construction. Speeding in a construction zone can incur a hefty ticket, and it endangers workers and other motorists. Keep it slow in these construction zones.
10. Wear the Belt. Texas law now requires that all passengers, not just those in the front seat, wear safety belts. Keep it buckled.