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Nothing but me and my Cadillac

What Is Houston's Driving Like?

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How is the driving in Houston or on the freeway? I haven't driven in too many huge cities before, and was wondering if Houston driving was a grueling task. I don't mind commuting, or even being stuck in traffic, but just wondering how bad the traffic was.

Have you been under a rock for the past couple weeks. You didn't see on the news, about the log-jam we had on ALL the freeways around here, that stuff happens everyday, I don't know why they thought last Thursday was sooooooo special. You'd think they would have something better to report, than about traffic jams in Houston. <_<

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How is the driving in Houston or on the freeway? I haven't driven in too many huge cities before, and was wondering if Houston driving was a grueling task. I don't mind commuting, or even being stuck in traffic, but just wondering how bad the traffic was.

You may not be interested in this aspect of traffic, but the thing I notice about Houston's traffic (being from Dallas) is that it *moves* in the left lane. I don't visit during rush hour, generally on the weekends, but often when I visit I eventually end up getting pushed along in the left lane, especially on I45. This *never* happens to me in Dallas... but I'll be cruising along passing some people at about 85, sometimes 90, and all of a sudden they'll be a log jam of cars behind me so I'll get over ASAP. I think its pretty cool actually, but definitely something to get used to.

Jason

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How is the driving in Houston or on the freeway? I haven't driven in too many huge cities before, and was wondering if Houston driving was a grueling task. I don't mind commuting, or even being stuck in traffic, but just wondering how bad the traffic was.

Where are you from? This might better help everyone determine how hard Houston driving will be for you.

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Generally, traffic in big cities is all about the same: All inbound freeways are packed in the morning and outbound are packed at night. Interchanges between freeways are jammed during rush hours (7-9am and 5-7pm), and city streets (and major suburban streets) are overwhelmed with cars. However, unlike other major cities (LA, Chicago, DC come to mind), reverse commuting still works. So if you work in the 'burbs, you can live in the city and make it out to your office in good time.

-City streets inside the loop always have about the same amount of traffic, regardless of the time of day. it is more about the synchronization of traffic signals than volume of cars.

-West Loop (610 on West side) and the west Tollway (Sam Houston Tollway on west side) are always pretty crowded.

-South Loop generally moves freely.

-59 on the northside and 288 on the southside are exceptions, meaning they travel somewhat faster, but that won't last much longer.

Tollway on the south side is empty and people drive fast :)

On the freeways, you will soon learn to drive as quick as conditions allow--as spread out as Houston is, you need to get your speed on if you want to get anywhere.

Do a search on 'traffic' or something on this site. You will find that many of your questions have probably already been answered before.

Edited by travelguy_73

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You may not be interested in this aspect of traffic, but the thing I notice about Houston's traffic (being from Dallas) is that it *moves* in the left lane. I don't visit during rush hour, generally on the weekends, but often when I visit I eventually end up getting pushed along in the left lane, especially on I45. This *never* happens to me in Dallas... but I'll be cruising along passing some people at about 85, sometimes 90, and all of a sudden they'll be a log jam of cars behind me so I'll get over ASAP. I think its pretty cool actually, but definitely something to get used to.

Jason

haha, this is very true. Non traffic times most Houston freeways are like this.

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on the freeways (during regular traffic), it's usually either 80 mph, or 40 :blink:

Edited by sevfiv

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How is the driving in Houston or on the freeway? I haven't driven in too many huge cities before, and was wondering if Houston driving was a grueling task. I don't mind commuting, or even being stuck in traffic, but just wondering how bad the traffic was.

The trick is live closer in to the city then where you work. That way you will be traveling opposite the rush hour traffic. And learn all the non-freeway routes to work. The less time you spend on the freeways the less stressed you will be.

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Go ahead today and break the turn signal indicators right off the steering column, you won't be needing those anymore. Nothing marks an out-of-towner quicker than someone using those turn signals...

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I'm just wondering how Phoenix driving compares to Houston.

It doesn't.. and that's strictly from experience.

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start practicing your relaxation exercises now...and plan on getting some badass insurance (rates are generally slightly lower than arizona, but higher than iowa - which is almost the cheapest according to the insurance information institute...)

Edited by sevfiv

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Guest danax
Go ahead today and break the turn signal indicators right off the steering column, you won't be needing those anymore. Nothing marks an out-of-towner quicker than someone using those turn signals...

I use em and I actually make full stops too, even on red light right turns, and no, I'm not a little old lady. Sometimes I can feel the fidgety tension wafting up to me from the drivers behind me when I stop. And no, I don't do it to tick anyone off either, just a habit from a former incarnation when I had multiple violations on my record and got fed up with court appearances and realized the only way not to get tickets is to....get this.....obey the laws. And, it works great!

Do be very careful when starting out from a green light at an intersection. Give it about a count of 3 or else ya might get T-boned.

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I use em and I actually make full stops too, even on red light right turns, and no, I'm not a little old lady. Sometimes I can feel the fidgety tension wafting up to me from the drivers behind me when I stop. And no, I don't do it to tick anyone off either, just a habit from a former incarnation when I had multiple violations on my record and got fed up with court appearances and realized the only way not to get tickets is to....get this.....obey the laws. And, it works great!

Do be very careful when starting out from a green light at an intersection. Give it about a count of 3 or else ya might get T-boned.

One day I was driving down Harold to take a left onto Montrose. I had to slam on my brakes at the Chinese consulate because a Honda Accord packed with consulate employees just came out of the garage and turned right-never looking left or right-then ran the stop sign at Montrose and took a left-never looking left or right-then drove THROUGH the red light at Alabama and THROUGH the red light at Richmond. They looked absolutly terrified-white-knuckled-hands on the wheel. It was at that point I decieded I was much better off driving in Houston than Bejing.

B)

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Chinese consulate

That place looks better now, but I sure enjoyed seeing those guys hang dry their wife-beater tee shirts from the balconeys before the renovation.

I guess they bought a dryer.

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I'm from Iowa, but I have spent a good chunk of time in Phoenix driving from Scottsdale everyday. I know how to drive in a big city, I'm just wondering how Phoenix driving compares to Houston.

i've driven around phoenix...pretty much the same as here. it sucks.

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One day I was driving down Harold to take a left onto Montrose. I had to slam on my brakes at the Chinese consulate because a Honda Accord packed with consulate employees just came out of the garage and turned right-never looking left or right-then ran the stop sign at Montrose and took a left-never looking left or right-then drove THROUGH the red light at Alabama and THROUGH the red light at Richmond. They looked absolutly terrified-white-knuckled-hands on the wheel. It was at that point I decieded I was much better off driving in Houston than Bejing.

B)

You know, I almost got hit last night driving down Harold yesterday by same thing happening! I had to hit the brakes hard enough that the tires squealed and I hit the horn several times. The guy driving barely even looked at me. Wonder if it was the same driver you saw running all those lights?

That place looks better now, but I sure enjoyed seeing those guys hang dry their wife-beater tee shirts from the balconeys before the renovation.

No kidding. It is remarkable the transformation they did on that place. It used to look like a third world housing project and now looks pretty good. Hopefully they can keep it up, and not let it get back into the condition it used to be in before the renovation.

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When do you guys find people driving over 70 in the left lane? It must be a rare occurance because most people do less than that. Well, I've even started driving slower because gas prices are so high.

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When do you guys find people driving over 70 in the left lane? It must be a rare occurance because most people do less than that. Well, I've even started driving slower because gas prices are so high.

The guy that's usually driving 70 in the left lane is me. It's strange though, I'll flash my lights and be polite, for someone to please move over to the right, and they act like they don't see me, but as soon as the ol' middle finger pops up on them, they are like ,"is that meant for me? what did i do?" I know I don't have "road rage" I just feel the need to point out others bad driving skills. :o

Edited by TJones

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It's strange though, I'll flash my lights and be polite, for someone to please move over to the right, and they act like they don't see me

alot of left-lane-slow-drivers are completely oblivious to their surroundings - even as people are screaming by them to the right or tailgating them...

and don't forget the 290 speedway during non-rush hour times - left lane=80+, right lane=<50

man i am glad i don't live out there anymore!

Edited by sevfiv

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i've driven around phoenix...pretty much the same as here. it sucks.

I have to disagree. Everytime I go to Phoenix I have no trouble getting around. I have to admit that I don't use the freeway system much, but this is only because all the surface streets are straight, multi-laned, and not over burdened with excessive & non-syncronized traffic lights.

The freeway gets a little back-up action in the mornings in evenings around rush hours respectively. The rest of the time, driving is a breeze in Phoenix.

Sometimes when I'm there though, I start to think that they've paid the census off to list them with a higher population than what they really have. I've never seen a place that big that felt so empty.. well, I guess maybe except for our downtown! :P

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The guy that's usually driving 70 in the left lane is me. It's strange though, I'll flash my lights and be polite, for someone to please move over to the right, and they act like they don't see me, but as soon as the ol' middle finger pops up on them, they are like ,"is that meant for me? what did i do?" I know I don't have "road rage" I just feel the need to point out others bad driving skills. :o

Only 70? Hate to break it to you, but I think *you're* the one holding it up :)

A lot of the time I'll be driving in the left lane and get caught behind a slower driver. Then some random guy will get behind *me* and assume that it's *me* who's slowing it down (apparently oblivious to the 10 or so cars directly in front of me, not going any faster) and do the whole flashing lights bit, blah blah blah. It's at that point that I slow down a bit just to see him fly off the handle :) If I'm in a really bad mood I'll run a set-piece and get the guy trapped while I escape into the middle lane for a right-side pass (no turn signal necessary).

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If I'm in a really bad mood I'll run a set-piece and get the guy trapped while I escape into the middle lane for a right-side pass (no turn signal necessary).

My HEMI loves doing this, too.

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when there's not a traffic jam, i would guess the left hand land is averaging at least 75mph, and of course there are always many who are going faster or slower.

but i'll overtake cops going 75 without worrying, though they're usually going faster anyways.

most of my freeway driving is on the Gulf and Katy frwy.

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I don't bother to overtake cops if they're pacing the field; you just never know when some police guy will just fly off the handle and administer the old beat-down. Ideally I will have seen the cop in my rearview mirror and then try to put as many cars between me and the cop as I can without him noticing me.

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Houston Driving= NO DRIVING CULTURE whatsoever!

Driving in Houston SUCKS! The lack of driving culture means that there is no sense amongst most of the drivers that we are all in this together and we can do things to help each other out.

Left Lane on the freeway is NOT the "fast lane" in this town. One of the easiest road rules to conform too is all but nonexistent. Most of the people just do not get it. You would think that after 5 or more cars go around someone slow pokin' in the "fast lane" that they would get the point and move over...hell no!

Say you are obviously someone cruising down the freeway, using your signal when changing lanes, not tailgating, but then are say in the "fast lane" and come up on somone who does not share your view of the "fast lane"...but you gauge the traffic ahead of you in ALL lanes and determine it is better to just stay where you are for the time being.....Whomever comes up behind you will immediately assume that YOU are the old betty driving 50 miles and instantly has to change lanes and ends up changing lane sliek 5 times only to find that 3 minutes later, they are still behind you because you are still behind the old betty in the "fast lane" but being behind he old betty was the better option compared to what was going on in the other lanes. They just do not get it! The idea that someone else may ALSO be trying to get to a point where they can open up and speed up to 80+ is just not possible...."you mean others on the road want to go as fast as I do?" No WAY!! I AM THE ONLY ONE THAT DRIVES FAST!!! Again, no driving culture, no concept amongst most of the people that they may be in the sam eboat as others.

Something else to keep in mind is that on the road in Houston IT'S PERSONAL. If out of courtesy you put your signal on to change lanes, the person in that lane will speed up in hopes of keeping you from getting in front of them. WHY? I have no frickin idea, but it happens very regularly. Same goes for speed, try going around the old betty in the fast lane and they will speed up. "You're not getting by ME" I lived in the New Jersey area around NYC for a while. At first I was shocked at how crazy the driving was...having moved their from Southern California. After a while I learned that for the most part they were making due with a very antiquated road infrastructure. But ALSO, Given all the crazy things that happened on the road their, I never felt threatened. People going around me did not flip me the bird when doing it. Did not tail me making crazy hand gestures. They just do what they have to do to get where they need to go given the poor state of the roads. It just is not personal there. But here in Houston, people take things very personally on the road. Serious driving attitude...not fun.

The freeways are a mess mostly because the speeds that folks are driving vary so much. 50 to 80+ is a huge range of speed on a freeway. And that feeder road where you come off of the freeway cruising at 65 and then quickly have to get over to the far right lane so you can QUICKLY slowdown and make a right turn in to Home Depot is a total joke. "Who were the add wizards who came up with this one?"

Say for example you have a freeway that has 5 lanes in one direction. If that freeway then intersects with another freeway, the main freeway will lose 2 lanes as they fan off to connect to the other freeway. This forces people continuing on the original freeway to change lanes, impeding traffic flow. I see this allover town. Why cant they keep the 5 freeway lanes for the original freeway and ADD lanes to get to the other road. It is as if there is some calculation in place that states...well, when given a choice, HALF will go one way, HALF will go the other...whatever! Keep 45 -4 lanes at least, regardless as to whethere it is intersecting with another freeway or not...

I could go on, and probably will at some point.

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Houston Driving= NO DRIVING CULTURE whatsoever!

Driving in Houston SUCKS!

i'll have to second that! mix that with overly-aggressive driving, and you're destined for the teeth-grinding driving adventures you'll find here...

one thing i have noticed lately is that the same road i take to work most days (sometimes i have to change it up to amuse myself) has quite a bit of traffic, which is worsened by the fact that the far right lane becomes a turn-only lane.

you would think that if two lanes are backed up pretty bad, and the one right hand lane is practically empty, then maybe it's because the lane doesn't go through....but nooooo! alot of these people think it's their lucky day and a special lane has been opened up just for them! and of course, instead of gracefully turning right and making a u-turn, they sit in the middle of the intersection (without turn-signals of course) and maybe three cars can get through... fun.

the worst part is, i am pretty sure most of these drivers take this same route every day (groundhog day? :rolleyes: )

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Houston drivers (and I think Houstonians in general) behave like they are spoiled brats, that's all there is to it. Life is easy here, maybe a little *too* easy, and many of them think they are the center of the universe...

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Houston driving......HELL of a lot better than British, Iraqi and Kuwaiti driving.

Brits....streets are narrow and crowded and drivers are really rude.

Iraqi and Kuwaiti road rules are non existant. Those are the places I've been the past 1.5yrs

So I am SOOOO lookinig foward to Houston driving.

One of the biggest things I miss is driving around town. Driving around when ever and where ever I want.

AC and music blasting B)

Oh yeah that is the life :rolleyes:

Biggest thing I'm not looking foward to is gas prices. When I left I believe prices were

$1.86. I hear prices are much higher :(

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$1.86. I hear prices are much higher :(

aww...yeah, you won't be happy about that - they are hovering right around $3

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i'll have to second that! mix that with overly-aggressive driving, and you're destined for the teeth-grinding driving adventures you'll find here...

one thing i have noticed lately is that the same road i take to work most days (sometimes i have to change it up to amuse myself) has quite a bit of traffic, which is worsened by the fact that the far right lane becomes a turn-only lane.

you would think that if two lanes are backed up pretty bad, and the one right hand lane is practically empty, then maybe it's because the lane doesn't go through....but nooooo! alot of these people think it's their lucky day and a special lane has been opened up just for them! and of course, instead of gracefully turning right and making a u-turn, they sit in the middle of the intersection (without turn-signals of course) and maybe three cars can get through... fun.

the worst part is, i am pretty sure most of these drivers take this same route every day (groundhog day? :rolleyes: )

I think a large part of the problem is most everyone is from someplace else with different driving styles and culture. Throw in a very large population who learned to drive in places like Lagos, Bogota, Mexicao City, Rome, Cairo, Bagdad it leads to a mess. One city is the US with much worse driving is Boston. Jeez, the place is a mess.

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orlando is the city i've found to be the worst when it comes to consistency. so many tourists coming from all over, all renting cars and they have no idea where they're going.

i'm sure i add to the problems in houston, i learned to drive in delhi where there are no rules probably similar to what htoniniraq was saying. but i'm usually in the left lane going 80+ with no problems other then rush hour. i'm glad i rarely deal with the stuff some of you are complaining about, i love driving here compared to other cities most of the time.

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My wife and I spent a week in Jamaica this summer...and of course going from place to place we were in many taxis. It was an interesting experience...I was never scared on the road there, the drivers always seemed in total control, but there was much less "formality" to the whole driving experience. Like, no traffic striping (two lane roads often became three lane roads), pulling off on the left side of the road to make a right turn, forcing your way into traffic whenever you felt like it (but with a smile and a beep of the horn) etc.

The funny thing was coming back to America after that week. I drove like I was in Jamaica the first week I was home, no turn signals, friendly honking, ignoring traffic striping, just driving however I felt like it. I enjoyed driving like that, to be honest.

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another thing - people need to know what these signs mean:

W4-2.gif

:)

It means you better go ahead, get all the way to the right and then punch it before you run out of lane!

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