What are the accident hot spots on your commute?

By Robert Arnold - Investigative Reporter

HOUSTON - According to information contained in a Texas Department of Transportation database, there have been 304,456 vehicle crashes reported in Harris, Montgomery and Fort Bend counties since 2015.

Police departments report all crashes to TX-DOT through Texas peace officer crash reports.

The incidents in the state’s database show everything from fender-benders to fatalities. The information also lists crashes occurring on everything from neighborhood streets to freeways.

“I think I've seen it all,” Chuck Winfree said.

Winfree has worked in sales, inspections and is a part-time Uber driver.

“I do sometimes 4,000 miles a month in this city,” Winfree said.

That staggering number means Winfree knows better than anyone that driving in Houston can be a contact sport. In fact, in February he was hit by a driver who blew through a red light in downtown.

“No way to know it was coming, no way to see it coming,” Winfree said.

Winfree suffered cracked ribs and a herniated disc.

“I'm just now standing upright in the last two weeks,” he said.

If you've driven in the Houston area for longer than a day, you know Winfree's story is far from uncommon.

“You know, in Texas, yellow doesn't mean slow down, yellow means go faster,” Winfree said.

As Channel 2 Investigates was going through the state’s database of crashes, we noticed certain spots were a little rougher than others.

In Montgomery County, the area around I-45 north and Highway 242 logged 239 accidents since 2015.

The area around I-45 south and Nasa Parkway recorded 208 accidents.

Stretches of the Katy Freeway around Greenhouse Road and the Grand Parkway showed 190 and 189 accidents respectively during the same time period.

TX-DOT’s information also showed roughly 40 percent of the accidents during this time period happened at or near intersections.

“They were in the middle of the intersection, so it was red for some time,” Erin Libranda said in reference to her parents' February crash.

Libranda said her parents were out for a spin in a new RV they dubbed the "Silver Bullet." Both survived a crash where a smaller car hit with such force that it knocked the RV on its side.

“I have no doubt if they were in something smaller, my parents wouldn't be here. We’d be planning a funeral,” Libranda said.

The state’s database also shows more accidents happen between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. than any other time of day.

University of Houston professors and doctors Victor Cheng and Jack Zhang spent years studying traffic patterns and accidents. Both said the more cars on the road, the greater the chance of an accident, but added that drivers can do a few simple things to keep themselves safe.

“Education, training and awareness,” Cheng said. 

Cheng said one of the biggest things all drivers need to do is plan their route. He recommends checking traffic maps on your phone or the internet before getting behind the wheel. Cheng said knowing traffic conditions ahead of time, and planning alternate routes, cuts down on tendencies to speed or jockey for positions to try to make up for lost time due to congestion or accidents.

“They need to know and when they know, they need to use it. Make it a habit,” Cheng said.

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