Houston is an ever-changing city that has grown quite a bit in the last few years. As a result, we have more drivers on the road than ever before, especially since it’s the peak of summer! Whether you’re a Houston native or you’ve just moved here, there’s probably a few things you’ve noticed about Houston traffic that are uniquely Houston.
Houston has many toll roads. Some, like Katy Freeway’s Managed Lanes, allow you to ride parallel. Others, like the Westpark Tollway, are a bit more isolated. Houston features the “EZ TAG,” which is something you can purchase to avoid stopping to pay your toll. You can just roll on through in the EZ TAG lane!
Of course, if the toll road doesn’t have signage to indicate an EZ TAG lane, you will have to stop like everyone else. You can also be ticketed anywhere between $37–$75 for accidentally going through an EZ TAG lane without an EZ TAG! Consider it an “initiation” to Houston.
Traffic, Road Work, and Accidents
Houston has been “perfecting” its freeway systems for at least 50 years. From fixing potholes that are back within two months, to merging all of the major freeways in downtown, Houston is never short of those wonderful orange and black signs.
In fact, most Houstonians will tell you to add 30 minutes to your commute no matter where you’re going. The sad thing is, you will probably still be late to your destination because Google Maps didn’t catch certain freeway closures, and Houston TranStar didn’t list them either!
In any case, be prepared to merge from five lanes to two lanes, whether the cause is simply two freeways intersecting, road work, or just as common, an accident. Tragically, you will seldom drive home from work without encountering a major accident jamming traffic up for miles.
This is a part of Houston driving we drivers have zero control over. No matter what the weather is supposed to be, we can have flooding at almost any time of year. Clay Road, a major thoroughfare, was out of commission for weeks after one particularly bad flood earlier this year.
Between hurricanes, when no one should be on the road, to a 15-minute downpour that has you feeling like a lake just fell from the sky, Houston flooding can be dangerous and destructive. If you see cars struggling to get through a massive puddle, it’s best to stay on high ground until the water level goes down.
And if you’re already surrounded by water, don’t hesitate to leave your car behind and swim to safety. Damage to your car is never more important than your life.
It’s best to have an automatic transmission in Houston because you’ll be doing almost nothing but stopping and going ad nauseam. Some would argue the worst part of traffic isn’t the traffic itself, but the drivers!
Whether it’s using no blinker, having the right blinker on and going left, trying to merge five lanes half a mile from the exit you need, or the infamous tailgating and hand gesturing, Houston traffic is one-of-a-kind when it comes to bad drivers. It’s even more unique when it comes to angry ones.
Never let a road rage incident escalate in Houston. There have been brawls in the streets, intentional ramming of rear ends, and even shoot-outs over something as simple as getting from point A to point B. It’s never worth it, so do what you can to avoid it.
If you’ve been driving at all recently, you know how hot it is in Houston. With all the traffic and potential road rage, working A/C might just be a must-have. Back in 2005 when hurricane Rita hit, one of the largest gridlocks in Houston history occurred, causing heat stroke in dozens of evacuees.
The extra heat in the Houston summer might also cause your car to overheat. It’s a good idea to keep a jug of coolant and some bottled water in your trunk just in case your radiator needs to be refilled. You don’t want to be stranded on the side of a highway with no A/C on a scorching Houston summer day.
Dillon’s Automotive Knows Houston
The biggest thing to remember about Houston driving is that Texas is an “at-fault” state. Someone braking erratically in rush hour traffic could lead to a fender bender that’s not even your fault. You’ll still have to shell out your deductible and endure high insurance premiums if you rear-ended them.
If you happen to find yourself in need of a repair, contact Dillon’s Automotive to set up an appointment today. We are a family-owned business experienced in Houstonian car trouble and will provide the highest quality service you can find.