14 Ways to Beat Houston Traffic

14 Ways to Beat Houston Traffic

Houston is known for many things. Among them: the rodeo, NASA, and traffic. 

Highway 290 is notorious for bumper-to-bumper traffic. The roads between I-10 and Westheimer are a nightmare. The West Loop’s chaos is enough to drive you loopy. 

It’s no wonder we have aggressive drivers. Traffic even takes a toll on your health, stressing you out and spiking your blood pressure. Studies show standstill traffic increases vehicle emissions and pollutes the air, leading to more health problems for drivers and individuals living near major roadways.

But with the city’s huge size and limited public transportation options, many Houstonians are forced to commute.

When you’re faced with that long, daunting trek to work and you’re searching for some solutions, you might hear a sarcastic response of “move closer.” But we’re here to offer some more in-depth help on how to beat Houston traffic.

Below we cover three main strategies for avoiding traffic in Houston: planning ahead, utilizing technology, and avoiding driving altogether! Read on to learn more about each tip.

 

― First Things First: Why is Houston Traffic So Bad? ―

 

More people, more problems.

Between 2010 and 2018, the Greater Houston metropolitan area saw the third largest population growth in the country. This brought the total to nearly 7 million residents.

Sprawling and crawling. 

Houston is seriously spread out. To put things in perspective, one Reddit user overlaid the whopping 88 mile loop of Beltway 8 over maps of other cities. (Check it out – Houston is roughly the same size as the entire island of O‘ahu!) While still technically within the city limits, some residents may live up to 30 miles away from this bustling inner loop, and even further from the heart of downtown.

Everything’s bigger.

Commercial 18 wheelers are a common sight on Houston highways – and so are catastrophic 18 wheeler accidents. Additionally, many people drive large vehicles. One report revealed the Ford F-150, the Chevy Silverado, and the RAM pickup trucks were the top three choices among Houston car buyers. Texans may also have boats or livestock trailers in tow as they head to coastal destinations or rural areas.

So how can Houstonians combat these facts of life?

― Plan Ahead To Avoid a Car Accident―

 

1. Avoid rush hour. 

This one’s obvious, but we don’t mean showing up an hour before your shift begins and twiddling your thumbs in the parking garage. How can you avoid Houston’s rush hour while still managing your time efficiently? 

  • What time is rush hour in Houston? The morning rush hour in Houston is between 7AM and 9AM. 
  • What time does traffic end in Houston? After a typical workday, Houston rush hour traffic begins as early as 4PM and dies down around 7PM. 
  • Squeeze in a workout. If there’s a gym nearby your office, leave home earlier in the morning to make time for a workout (and a shower!)
  • Schedule study time. If you’re a student commuting to campus, arrive early to cram in some morning study time and hang out in the library before classes begin.

2. Take a shortcut. 

If you know the back streets of Houston well enough, you can find some alternate routes that can save you time. But watch out for red lights on side streets – you might be able to zoom a few miles down the freeway in a matter of minutes, but if you venture into the side streets of the Heights or Montrose, be prepared to account for long wait times at stoplights.

3. Check the weather forecast. 

Always check the weather forecast when you wake up in the morning. If roads on your route are prone to flooding, have alternates in mind. If other inclement weather is brewing, prepare yourself for weather-related delays or accidents.

4. Plan around events.

One thing that’s a little more predictable than the weather: people. Whenever special events or conventions are taking place in Houston, traffic worsens. Highways near sports stadiums can be packed for hours before and hours after a game. Ensure your route does not bring you through a traffic jam of attendees. Additionally, be mindful of when school lets out and if you’ll go through any school zones on your route. No one wants to get stuck behind a school bus.

5. Modify your work schedule.

Leaving 15 minutes early can make all the difference. See if your employer will let you come into work earlier and leave earlier, effectively beating the Houston rush hour.

 

checking GPS in heavy traffic

― Technology is Your Friend ―

 

6. Check out TranStar’s Houston Traffic Map. 

TranStar’s Houston rush hour traffic map is a nifty resource, showing traffic updates in real time. Check in during different times of the day and see how things are going so you’ll know what to expect – and where to avoid.

7. Use Waze. 

In recent years, Waze has all but replaced radio traffic reports. It’s known for being the go-to map application for Uber drivers and Lyft drivers. With so much construction, Houston’s traffic patterns can be unpredictable, but thanks to its info being crowdsourced, Waze has an astute ability to look for alternate routes and notify you of upcoming traffic, construction zones, police, or accidents in realtime. Waze, Google Maps, Apple Maps, and many other GPS applications can also estimate future traffic predictions and ETAs, so you can check and plan ahead.

8. Get an EZ TAG and take the roll roads. 

Some people want to avoid toll roads whenever possible, but those paths might be able to significantly trim down your commute time. If there’s a toll road on your route, take a moment to do the math and see if the time you’ll save is worth the coinage you’ll drop. If you’ll be frequenting Houston’s toll roads, get an EZ TAG for added convenience. You can order one online and receive it by mail, or, if you don’t live in Houston and you’re just passing through, the EZ TAG Express mobile app lets you send electronic payments without having to apply a sticker or a chip to your car. Forget fishing for spare change in the cupholders: certain tollways, like Westpark Tollway and Katy Tollway, only accept payment via EZ TAG these days.

9. Download audiobooks and podcasts to listen to. 

Sometimes beating traffic doesn’t mean avoiding it, but enjoying it instead! Fill up your phone with audiobooks and podcasts that interest you, and use your commute productively by expanding your intellectual horizons.

 

Biking in Houston to avoid traffic

― Opt Out – Leave Your Car at Home ―

 

Want to know the #1 way to bypass Houston traffic? Don’t drive! The only way to truly alleviate traffic is to have fewer cars on our roads. While this goal ultimately requires better urban planning and public transportation systems, you can do your part today in one of the following ways:

 

10. Carpool. 

And get the added bonus of using the HOV lanes! Carpooling with coworkers, classmates, or friends will reduce pollution and save everyone gas money. You can also use rideshare services for carpooling.

11. Bike or skate.

Houston summers are rough, so we don’t blame you if you balk at this option. But riding a bicycle or skateboard can be a viable option for some commuters. You’ll save big on gas and, in the case of bumper-to-bumper traffic, you’ll save time, too! If you don’t have a bike of your own, check out BCycle Houston, a bikeshare program.

12. Drive to a METRO Park & Ride station. 

METRO Park & Ride offers direct nonstop service to downtown, the Texas Medical Center, and other major hubs from 26 parking lots across the city of Houston. Parking is free, but the METRO mobile app or a Q Card loaded with fare is required to ride.

13. Pack your lunch. 

The lunch rush – between 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. – is a bit lighter and is mostly confined to Houston’s city streets instead of the freeways, but we’re sure you still want to avoid it. During a lunch break, every second counts!

14. Work from home. 

When all is said and done, you’ve got to admit there’s no better commute than that 5-step stumble from your bed to your home office. If it makes sense for your profession, speak with your employers and see if it’s possible to take your position partially or entirely remote.

 

― Save Time, Save Lives ―

 

We know time is precious. So precious, in fact, one Houston man set out to statistically analyze how much time he was wasting on his commute and tried to beat traffic with math! Another analysis revealed Houston was the 11th most congested city in the United States, with drivers wasting an average of 81 hours of their lives each year sitting in traffic.

There are ways every driver can avoid contributing to heavy road congestion, because in the end, nothing brings traffic to a screeching halt like a car accident. Approximately a dozen people lose their lives in Houston car accidents every week.

Don’t be part of the problem.

Obey speed limits, keep your eyes the road, and keep your hands on the wheel. Snacking or texting can wait. Every trip requires you to be calm, cautious, and alert, even if it’s the same route you take every morning!

Have you been hurt in a Houston traffic accident? Reach out to a car accident lawyer now for a free consultation.

What to Do After A Fender Bender

What to Do After A Fender Bender

― 4 Steps to Follow When You’ve Been in a Fender Bender ―

Don’t surrender or lose your temper when a fender bender has rendered you injured!

…Did we lose you already with that tongue-twister? No? Great! Because we have some vital information that could help you.

Car accidents, no matter how minor, leave you feeling shook. With all the stress and shock swirling around in your head, it’s hard to know exactly what to do after a fender bender. 

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) reports over 6 million traffic accidents each year in the United States, with 40% of them involving rear-end collisions. In fact, the National Safety Commission estimates that a rear-end collision happens every eight seconds. With stats like that, everyone is bound to get in a fender bender eventually.

What is a fender bender? Fender benders commonly occur in intersections, parking lots, or even drive-thrus. These mishaps usually involve being rear-ended and warping the bumper, fender, or frame of your car, hence the name. But don’t let that cute name fool you. Fender benders can seem unimportant compared to the more tragic car accidents you may see on the highway, but they’re not just an inconvenience that makes you run a little late for work. 

They can have hidden complications and serious consequences for both your body and your vehicle.

Below you’ll find important info related to these risks, plus recommendations on what to do in a fender bender.

 

1. Determine Liability

Determining liability means figuring out who to blame for a car accident and why they were legally at fault.

The person who hit you is probably eager to dodge hefty insurance rates, which go up after an accident. They may try to offer you cash in exchange for agreeing not to file a claim against them.

We all want to see the best in people, but let’s be real: it’s not wise to trust a total stranger who just hit your car. You should always call the police. You should always exchange insurance information, and use your phone to snap pictures of their license plate, license, and the damages.

If you are in a fender bender with a commercial vehicle, the company that owns the vehicle may be responsible for your damages.

Additionally, rideshare companies often have insurance, so if you’re in a fender bender with an Uber or a Lyft, you can seek compensation.

If the other driver fled the scene or you cannot get in touch with them, there’s still help available. Consult a car accident attorney to learn about your options. 

Don’t let someone else’s carelessness leave you in pain after a car accident.

2. Get Checked for Physical Injuries

Even if you walk away from the scene of the accident feeling fine, you need to be evaluated by a doctor. Aches and pains might take days to appear, but they could follow you for the rest of your life if they’re not treated properly and promptly. 

Common injuries after a fender bender:

Wrist or Arm Injury

When your hands are on your steering wheel – where they should be! – your wrists and arms absorb a lot of the impact of a fender bender. Wrist and arm injuries may need surgery or physical therapy and may prevent you from returning to work or doing the things you love. 

Airbag Injury

 If your airbags deploy, they may end up harming you in their attempt to protect you. Sometimes the force of an airbag can even break bones!

Brain Injury

Traumatic brain injuries can happen in the blink of an eye, but their impact on your life can be devastating. Severe cases of whiplash can actually cause your brain to hit the interior of your skull. You may also hit your head on your steering wheel or dashboard.

Back Injury

 The impact of a car accident can cause your spine to compress or misalign, which can get severely painful. You may even be left temporarily bedridden. 

Soft Tissue Injuries

Sometimes called “whiplash,” these are the most common injuries in fender benders. They’re also more serious than you think. Many soft tissue injuries require medical attention, physical therapy, and visits to a chiropractor to alleviate the pain. 

The good news is that rear-end settlements can be substantial, especially when injuries are involved.

3. Evaluate Property Damage

When you get into a minor accident, you might think you can skip the auto shop. You may assume your accident will be labeled “low impact,” or the damage to your car can be dismissed as “cosmetic” or “superficial.”

However, serious vehicle damage could result from a fender bender – meaning you could be stuck in serious trouble.

Just like how you could underestimate your physical damage after an accident, you may think you only have a scratched bumper or cracked taillight when you actually have a car with alignment issues, frame damage, or axle problems that could cost thousands to fix

Potential car troubles include:

Grille Damage

If someone backed into the front of your car, you likely have damage to your grille. (Grille damage accounts for more than 20% of all auto accident damage.) Control arm bushings or joints could also be damaged. 

Electrical Problems

Delicate electrical components are often knocked out of whack in fender benders too, causing problems with your wiring or battery. You could also face damage to your trunk or trunk latch or issues with your transmission or suspension.

Alignment Problems

Alignment problems can cause uneven tire tread wear, requiring a costly set of replacements. Your axis caster angle or tire camber could be thrown off. If you’re car-savvy enough to know what this means and how to fix it, good for you. But many drivers aren’t so lucky – and the person who hit them could be miles down the road before they notice the true extent of the damages.

Act now; save big. 

Underlying issues like these not only cost you money, they put you and your passengers in danger. With so many potential hidden concerns, you can’t know for sure until you get your car checked out by a professional.

When it comes to car trouble, prevention is the cure. A tiny bit of damage can snowball into a major complication if you don’t catch it in time.

Insurance companies also have time limits for reporting accidents. Err on the side of caution and call in your claim as soon as the fender bender happens, because, by the time the body shop gives you an estimate for your repairs, it may be too late to file your insurance claim.

Don’t gamble with your life. 

Have your car – and yourself! – thoroughly checked out after a fender bender. (By a mechanic and a doctor, respectively. Unless you’re a cyborg. Then you just need the one.)

If you’re worried about paying for these services or feeling overwhelmed by the complicated process of filing an insurance claim, we can help. In fact, many collision repair shops work directly with lawyers and insurance companies. Which brings us to our next step… 

4. Consult A Car Accident Attorney

Many people hesitate to get a lawyer involved in their case, but remember: just because you have a meeting with a car accident lawyer doesn’t mean you have to hire one! Many car accident attorneys offer 100% free case evaluations. The advice they provide can be crucial. You might not know all of your options, but it’s their job to!

Know your rights and make an informed decision about your next steps.

Contact one of our car accident attorneys today to receive expert legal counsel about your fender bender, absolutely free.

Should you request a police accident report?

Should you request a police accident report?

Why & How to Request a Police Accident Report After A Car Crash

When a car accident happens, chaos follows. 

You’re in pain. Your property is damaged or lost. You feel frozen and afraid of making the wrong choice. 

We understand. We’ve helped thousands of people through this, and now we’re making it our mission to help you.

When it comes to what to do after a car accident, calling the police is a smart move. For starters, officers can help you and other victims get medical care while directing traffic flow and preventing more crashes. Police reports can also be essential when it comes to:

  • Investigating the accident
  • Collecting witness statements
  • Gathering evidence at the scene
  • Figuring out who is at fault for the crash

A police report can support your statements in an insurance negotiation or in court. If you have questions about your rights and a potential car accident claim, contact our Houston car accident attorneys for free answers and professional advice. In addition to being beneficial, we should remind you that calling the police is sometimes required.

― Texas Law: When Am I Required to Report a Car Accident? ―

Drivers in Texas are required by state law[1] to call police and report a car accident whenever a crash results in:

  • Injury
  • Death
  • Damaged vehicles that cannot be driven away from the scene

Failing to report these car accidents to police can land you in deep trouble, including fines and criminal charges. 

Even if no one is hurt, things can get messy. There are other circumstances where summoning police can protect you and your rights after an accident. For example:

  • You suspect another driver may be intoxicated.
  • Another involved driver has fled the scene of the accident.
  • Another involved driver has no insurance or no license.
  • Any other involved party is threatening you or harassing you.

― Top 4 Reasons to Call Police After a Houston Car Accident ―

When police respond to a car accident in Houston, they do a lot more than ask you questions or divert rubberneckers. They will write up an official accident report in order to:

  • Document important details about the crash
  • Record who the involved parties are and how they appeared and behaved after the crash
  • Record whether any involved party was issued a criminal citation or placed under arrest
  • Note important details about the road and weather conditions at the time of the crash
  • Illustrate the scene with a diagram

Since police reports contain all of the important info listed above, they can be vital to your claim. Below are the top 4 reasons to call police after a car accident: 

  1. Figuring out who is at fault for the accident
  2. Establishing the extent and severity of the injuries victims suffered
  3. Proving property damage
  4. Finding other key evidence, like witness statements and breathalyzer test results, which may be integral to successful car accident cases

― How to Request a Police Report for a Houston Car Accident ―

To request police car accident reports in Houston, you have three options:

1. By Mail.

Download and complete the B. 2633 Crash Report Form. Mail it to the following address, along with a $6 check or money order made payable to the City of Houston and a self-addressed, stamped envelope:

Houston Police Department, Records Division

1200 Travis

Houston, TX 77002

2. Online.

You can find, purchase, and download a Houston police car accident report here.

3. In Person.

Visit the Records Division of the Houston Police Department in person at 1200 Travis Street between 8am and 5pm, Monday through Friday. The cost is $6.

― When Requesting Police Accident Reports, Keep in Mind: ―

  • They are typically available between 5 and 8 days after the date of the crash.
  • You will need at least two pieces of the following information in order to request the report for your accident:
    1. The date of the accident
    2. The location of the accident
    3. The name(s) of the involved party or parties
    4. The incident number
  • These reports do not always capture every detail—and they can even get some details wrong. It’s important to review these reports and reach out to the officer to promptly correct any wrong information or inaccuracy.
  • Our Houston lawyers can handle this for you. We can obtain and review your police accident report, and we can also use it to figure out your legal options and come up with a strategy for your recovery.

We represent victims in all kinds of car accident cases, including drunk driving crashes, Uber and Lyft accidents, UPS wrecks, FedEx accidents, and more. In our 20 year history of serving the Houston area, we’ve seen it all. No matter how complex a case may be, we have the skills and the experience fight for you.

― Top Houston Car Accident Lawyers Are Ready to Help ― 

A car accident can be the most stressful thing that’s ever happened to you. One accident can change your life – but so can one victory with us. 

Don’t go through this alone. 

You deserve professional legal counsel and dedicated guidance. You can rely on our Houston car accident lawyers to follow up with you and keep your best interests at the forefront of their minds, every step of the way. If you or a loved one has been hurt in a car accident, now’s the time to contact us. It’s the first step to getting the compensation you deserve. 

 

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We proudly back our strategic, aggressive representation with client-focused service, and we’re committed to providing the type of advocacy we would want for our own family.

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