WATCH OUT: 10 worst Houston intersections for car wrecks

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by Courtney Zubowski / KHOU 11 News I-Team

khou.com

Posted on November 11, 2013 at 11:33 PM

Updated Tuesday, Nov 12 at 1:52 PM

HARRIS COUNTY, Texas -- He has a fix for cars off the street, but when it comes to cars on the street just yards away, Daniel Burnell has no answers.

“I drive around,” Burnell told the KHOU 11 News I-Team, avoiding the area because he said he was too scared. “People cutting people off; blowing through red lights, and stuff like that.”

Burnell is talking about the intersection at Westheimer and Highway 6, where he says he’s seen plenty of accidents. Turns out, it’s one of the many intersections that the I-Team found to be more prone to car wrecks.

The I-Team did that by getting five years of accident data for Harris County from the Texas Department of Transportation. Then we cross-indexed it with the amount of what’s called “flow” data which measures the volume of traffic on each road. That gave us a ranking of the intersections that have highest rate of crashes.

Then, we hit the road with our list and with Bob Swint, a longtime accident re-construction expert, to see what might be going on these locations.

So starting with the bottom of our list:

Number 10: 610 and Wallisville Road

“I know this intersection and I worry when I come here,” said Swint as we stood at the corner where a narrow intersection and heavy traffic collide.

It’s one of the busiest trucking areas in Houston where in some cases it take an 18-wheeler 15 seconds to clear the lane.

“This intersection creates a major timing issue for trucks,” said Swint.

KHOU 11 News: “How do you correct that?”

Swint: “You may have to rebuild this section to make that safe.”

Number 9: Highway 225 and Beltway 8

In this area we saw a lot of skid marks and as our expert pointed out, that’s indicative of something sudden and unexpected happening.

“What we have is a lot of traffic coming here in the morning, we have a short distance to the turn right up here, and we have people trying to change lanes and intermix,” explained Swint.

Number 8: Highway 59 and Highway 1960

According to Swint, this is one of the busiest intersections in and around the Houston area.

He says drivers here face an uphill battle because the road has an incline.

“You can drive through this intersection and have a limited line of sight and have a reaction too late to avoid the event,” he said.

Number 7: Highway 6 and FM 529

Here we decided to speak to a local to get a sense of what was happening.

“It’s a lot of little fender benders, a lot of driver error,” said Preston Cherry who works at a nearby garage.

The Texas Department of Transportation just put in raised medians to try and prevent drivers from crossing the very busy FM 529. Cherry hasn’t noticed much of a difference.

“People just ignore it and jump right over the median,” Cherry told the KHOU 11 News I-Team.

Number 6: Westheimer and Highway 6

People who work nearby say there appears to be a timing issue at this intersection.

“This light actually turns green and a lot of cars come passing through when the light has turned green,” said Kevin Richards who advertises on the corner of the intersection.

The I-Team set up cameras and noticed several cars still in the middle of the large intersection after the light turned red and another turned green.

Number 5: FM 1093 and Beltway 8

Number 4: Louetta Rd. and I-45

Number 3: U.S. Route 90 Alt. and Beltway 8

Number 2: SH-249 and FM 2920

And the number one intersection for the most traffic accidents: Beltway 8 and Genoa Red Bluff Road.

“This is a huge intersection. It’s like three or four hundred feet from one side to another,” said Swint.

But there is good news for people who drive through that intersection; Swint says repairs have recently been made.

Still, like all of the top ten takers drivers need to beware.

So what do local safety officials have to say?

Well, the Texas Department of Transportation carries the lion’s share of the responsibility for the roads on the list. Officials there told us they saw nothing that needed to be fixed right away.

They encouraged drivers to pay attention to traffic signals and not partake in distractions like texting while driving.

As for the traffic lights we looked at, some of those are the city of Houston’s responsibility, but officials there refused our repeated requests for an interview.

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