With over 17 million licensed drivers in total, Texas has more vehicles on the road than almost any other state in America.
So, whether you’re a brand new driver or someone with plenty of experience behind the wheel, driving in Texas can sometimes feel a little different from what you might be used to elsewhere.
The Lone Star State is also famed for its diversity, featuring a wide mixture of hectic city streets, high-speed highways, and narrower roads in rural settings.
Here are some top tips for driving in Texas, especially for families, in order to keep yourself and all of your passengers as safe as possible.
Know The Rules
Just like any other state, Texas has its own unique rules and regulations for drivers to follow. Knowing these rules is a great way to get off to a good start for any drive in Texas, especially in hectic cities like Houston, where road safety is a serious concern.
Some of the most important rules for families to be aware of include the fact that all children aged between 1 and 7 must be provided with a child safety seat. All passengers must be wearing seat belts at all times too.
As for speed limits, they’re mostly the same as in other states, but there are a couple of minor differences. You can drive at up to 85 mph on Texas State Highway 130, for example, making it the highway with the highest speed limit in the US. In residential areas, speeds should be kept down to 25-30 mph.
Eyes On The Road
We’re living in a technological age, in which pretty much everyone owns a smartphone and uses it on a daily basis to keep in touch with friends and family members. However, trying to make calls or texts while driving can be very risky.
In 2018 alone, over 2,800 people were killed through distracted driving, which can include using a phone, fiddling around with a car radio or entertainment system, talking to other passengers, or trying to eat and drink while driving.
Clearly, distractions are dangerous for any driver, and if you need to do something that might deviate some of your attention from the road, be sure to find a place to safely pull over before doing so.
Consider Safety Apps
These days, there is a wide range of safe driving apps you can install on your phone to help minimize distractions while driving and allow you and your passengers to stay safer on the road.
Examples of these apps include LifeSaver, EverDrive, and TextDrive, but there are dozens more to check out too. They’re available for both Android and iOS platforms and many of them are totally free to download.
Common features of these apps include options to silence alerts and notifications, send out automatic messages to let your friends know that you’re currently behind the wheel, and even performance tracking to let you know how well you’re driving on any given day.
Do Your Research
Some drivers who are new to the roads of Texas might feel a little overwhelmed by the sheer numbers of vehicles, especially in hectic city locations like Houston, Austin, Dallas, and Fort Worth.
It can be wise to do some research ahead of time, checking out maps or downloading GPS apps in order to provide you with clear, precise directions, helping you stay concentrated on safe driving without having to worry about missing a turn or heading in the wrong direction.
Driving around big Texan cities can be quite an intimidating experience, but with a little preparation, you’ll be able to tackle these urban areas much more easily.
Driving in Texas can also be a little challenging at times due to the anger and frustrations of other drivers. A recent study showed that close to 90% of Texans admitted to getting mad while behind the wheel.
Fittingly, road rage crimes are punished more harshly in Texas, so it’s definitely in your best interests to keep cool, calm, and collected while driving around.
Keeping your distance from other drivers, obeying the speed limits, staying aware of your surroundings, and avoiding distractions are all simple measures you can take to help yourself and others have a positive experience on the road.
Texan roads aren’t all that different from those elsewhere around the US, but the higher rates of traffic and road rage mean that you need to be extra careful. Hopefully, these tips will prove useful the next time you find yourself cruising around the Lone Star State.