AUSTIN, Texas - Construction crews were busy at work Tuesday up and down I-35. They'll get a holiday break starting Wednesday and as a result, so too will those traveling through construction zones.
However, these areas can still be hot spots for accidents, according to Texas Department of Transportation spokesperson Brad Wheelis.
"And be prepared to stop, in construction zones, many of our crashes are secondary crashes, because you have the first crash happen, folks are not prepared for the traffic to stop, and they bump into one another,” said Wheelis.
A lot of bumping happens during the holidays, according to a new safety survey by ValuePenguin. I-35 was identified by the group as one of the most dangerous roads for holiday travel. Between 2015 and 2018, it ranked tied for third among I-10, I-95, I-80, and I-20. Together, all five account for 151 holiday travel deaths.
The ranking doesn’t surprise drivers like Edward Uriegus. He and his daughter are heading to the Dallas Metroplex from south Texas. He has a quick travel routine before hitting the road.
"I always check the weather, making sure if it’s going to rain or not, how often I'm going to be stopping, rest areas and things like that,” said Uriegas.
Joe Tavernier and his wife Rita are heading to Arkansas. He has a simple rule about traveling.
"Leave early and drive slow,” said Joe Tavernier.
The Taverniers said they really dread the gridlock in the urban centers.
"35, all the way from San Antonio, up through Austin then they have the construction in Waco. Construction in Dallas,” said Joe and Rita.
I-35 runs from Minnesota to Laredo, but it’s the Texas section where most of the deadly wrecks on the interstate occur. During Thanksgiving, Travis County is at the top of the list. It drops to third place, as the most dangerous area in Texas, for Christmas travel, behind Denton and Bexar counties
Ninety percent of wrecks were caused by human error, not a blown-out tire or mechanical problem according to the report. The report also found that one in three fatal wrecks involved a drunk driver.
"So designate a sober driver, call a cab or rideshare, take mass transit, any of those things will do, but don’t get behind the wheel if you are going to imbibe (drink) over the holiday weekend,” said Wheelis.
The leading causes of fatalities on Texas highways include speeding, driver inattention, DUI and failure to stay in one lane.
"You want to be the driver, that you want next to you. Think about that, who is in the car next to you, and what do you want them to behave like, use those behaviors when you are behind the wheel,” said Wheelis.
TxDOT advisory boards along the roadways are already sending out safety reminders, which include making sure everyone buckles up.
Houston and El Paso also made the list for having dangerous sections along I-10. The I-20 section through Dallas is also ranked high.