Though most of us do it every single day, driving is one of the most dangerous activities that most people will participate in. It certainly, doesn’t help, though, when the drivers you are sharing the road with are practicing bad driving habits, ignoring driving safety recommendations, and overall making the road a more dangerous place to be. Unfortunately, if you live in Texas, you may find that Texas drivers fit this description.
According to a study conducted by SmartAsset, Texas drivers rank as the fifth worst drivers in the United States, greatly increasing the odds that you will have a car accident when driving in Texas compared to the odds of having a car accident when driving in most other states. Why is it, though, that Texas drivers ranked so poorly in this study, and what can you do to improve your own safety when driving in Texas?
Important Takeaways from the SmartAsset Study
Based on the data compiled by SmartAsset, only four other states have worse drivers than Texas. These states include Mississippi, which came in at first on the list, Tennessee, which came in at second, and California and Missouri, which tied for third.
In order to produce these rankings, SmartAsset looked at a number of data points that serve as predictors of bad driving habits such as:
- The percentage of drivers who do not have car insurance
- The number of DUIs per driver in the state
- How often residents of the state Google terms such as “speeding ticket” and “traffic ticket”
- The average number of deaths per miles driven in the state
Based on these metrics, Texas drivers didn’t fare so well. This, of course, is deeply concerning to anyone who frequently drives in the state of Texas. If you or someone you know travels in Texas regularly, it’s important to understand what bad driving habits have led to Texas drivers being rated so poorly as well as what can be done to stay safe while driving in Texas.
Bad Driving Habits in Texas
According to the SmartAsset study, drivers in Texas tend to break the law more frequently than drivers in most other states. It turns out that this fact could be even more exaggerated than what the study found, given that the results were based mostly on how often Texas residents Googled terms such as “speeding ticket”. There’s a common perception that, in many parts of Texas, police officers are less likely to pull a driver over and issue them a citation for speeding than they are in other states. While this is not always the case, there is a degree of truth to this perception, meaning that Texas drivers may be speeding even more than the SmartAsset study concluded. Of course, driving at higher speeds will always increase your risk of having or causing a car accident.
Due to these bad driving habits, SmartAsset found that there was an average of 1.39 fatalities per hundred million miles driven in Texas during the year 2016 – a number that is considerably higher than the national average of 1.11 fatalities per hundred million miles driven.
How to Avoid a Car Accident While Driving in Texas
The best thing that you can do to avoid being in a car accident when you are sharing the road with drivers who may be engaging in bad driving habits is practicing proper driving safety yourself as well as defensive driving. By simply following all posted traffic laws and driving as safely as you can, you will greatly reduce the risk that you will be involved in an accident – even if the drivers around you are not following these same driving safety protocols.
In addition to always following the law and driving as safely as you can, you can also reduce your risk of being involved in a car accident by engaging in a practice known as defensive driving. Defensive driving entails driving in a way that protects you as much as possible from the mistakes made by other drivers. For example, one principle of defensive driving is keeping a lengthy following distance from other vehicles so that you will have time to come to a stop and avoid an accident if the car in front of you comes to an unexpected stop. Another principle of defensive driving involves keeping a close eye on the road and all of the vehicles around you to ensure that you are aware of any dangerous activity that they may be engaging in. In essence, defensive driving is all about recognizing that other drivers on the road may be practicing bad driving habits and doing the best you can to compensate for their errors.
What to do if You are Involved in a Car Accident in Texas
No matter how safely you drive, sometimes car accidents are unavoidable. If you have been involved in a car accident in Texas that a careless driver may have caused you, you need to be aware of the rights that you have available. If you or any of your loved ones have been involved in any such accidents, you can contact GOM law in Mcallen, TX today to learn more about your legal options.