Navigating through Dallas roads can be risky, particularly for unfamiliar drivers.
Distracted driving, poor road conditions, inclement weather, large vehicles, congestion, high crime rate, and reckless driving — these are some of the things that plague Dallas roads.
But, if you’re planning to drive in Dallas, don’t be too intimidated by the city’s reputation for heavy traffic and congestion.
Trust us, it’s worth it to experience all the amazing things this city has to offer!
From a world-class arts district to legendary hotels and restaurants, and endless attractions, there’s truly something for everyone to explore in Dallas.
That being said, we understand that navigating through this bustling metropolis can be a bit overwhelming at times.
But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered because we’ll give some tips to help you avoid the worst of it and make your driving experience as stress-free as possible.
Is it dangerous to drive in Dallas?
It is dangerous to drive in Dallas. Allstate Insurance’s 2020 report ranked Dallas as the 21st most dangerous driving city out of 200 cities studied.
Similarly, a 2019 study by QuoteWizard ranked Dallas as the fourth worst city for drivers in the U.S. due to congestion and aggressive driving habits.
This high volume of traffic, along with the city’s intricate highway system and numerous road construction projects, can contribute to a higher risk of accidents and collisions.
Additionally, Dallas has a high rate of distracted driving incidents, which can increase the danger of being on the road. In 2019, distracted driving contributed to over 95,000 crashes in Texas, resulting in over 400 deaths.
While driving in Dallas may not be inherently dangerous, factors such as high traffic volume, complicated highway systems, and a high rate of distracted driving incidents can contribute to a higher risk of accidents and collisions.
It is important to always exercise caution and follow safe driving practices to minimize the risk of an accident.
Why is Dallas traffic so bad?
Dallas traffic is bad because the city is huge, which means there are a lot of people and vehicles on the road. Also, the highways are congested, the drivers are aggressive, and public transportation is lacking.
First of all, let’s start with the obvious: Dallas is a massive city. It’s the ninth-largest city in the United States, with a population of over 1.3 million people. That’s a lot of cars on the road at any given time.
But it’s not just the sheer number of people that contribute to the traffic; it’s also the layout of the city itself.
Dallas is a sprawling metropolis, with highways that crisscross the city in all directions. There are several major highways that run through the city, including I-35, I-45, I-20, and the infamous I-635, also known as the “LBJ Freeway.”
These highways are notoriously congested with traffic often backed up for miles during rush hour.
According to a 2021 report by INRIX, Dallas-Fort Worth ranked as the 13th most congested urban area in the United States, with drivers spending an average of 50 hours per year in traffic.
But it’s not just the highways that are a problem. The city’s streets are often clogged with cars as well, especially in popular areas like downtown and Uptown.
And, to make matters worse, Dallas drivers are some of the most aggressive in the country. They’re not afraid to cut you off, speed, or tailgate, which can make driving here feel like a death-defying experience at times.
Another factor that contributes to Dallas’ traffic woes is the lack of public transportation options. While the city does have a light rail system, it’s limited in its reach and doesn’t serve many outlying areas.
And while there are buses that run throughout the city, they can be unreliable and slow. This means that most people in Dallas rely on their cars to get around, which only adds to the congestion on the roads.
All of these factors combine to make Dallas traffic a nightmare for anyone who has to drive in the city on a regular basis. It’s frustrating and stressful and can add hours to your daily commute.
Reasons Why It’s Dangerous to Drive in Dallas
The reasons why it’s dangerous to drive in Dallas are because of a high crime rate, poor road conditions, congestion, distracted and reckless driving, inclement weather, and heavy traffic.
These factors can all contribute to an increased risk of accidents and collisions on the roads.
High Crime Rate
Unfortunately, crime is a fact of life in many urban areas, and Dallas is no exception.
According to recent statistics (2019) from the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) program, Dallas has a higher crime rate than the national average with incidents of theft, robbery, and assault being especially prevalent.
Specifically, the city had a violent crime rate of 785.4 incidents per 100,000 people, compared to the national average of 380.6 incidents per 100,000 people.
These crimes can have a profound impact on drivers, as carjackings and other forms of vehicular theft are not uncommon in Dallas.
According to data from the Dallas Police Department, there were 2,486 reported incidents of motor vehicle theft in 2020, which includes both carjackings and other forms of vehicular theft. This represents a 3% increase from the previous year.
While motor vehicle theft does not make up the majority of crimes in Dallas, it is still a significant concern for drivers and highlights the importance of taking precautions to protect their vehicles and themselves while driving in the city.
Because these crimes can even turn violent, putting drivers and their passengers at risk.
Driving in Dallas can be quite an adventure, and not always in a good way. One of the main reasons why it’s dangerous to drive in Dallas is the congestion on the roads.
According to the 2021 Urban Mobility Report published by the Texas A&M Transportation Institute, Dallas-Fort Worth ranked as the 10th most congested urban area in the United States.
The report estimated that drivers in the Dallas-Fort Worth area experience an average of 54 hours of delay per year due to traffic congestion and that the cost of this congestion in terms of wasted time and fuel is approximately $1,101 per driver per year.
Try to picture this: you’re driving down one of the major highways in Dallas, and suddenly the traffic comes to a screeching halt. You’re stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic with no end in sight.
You start to feel frustrated, but more than that, you start to feel anxious. That’s because when the roads are congested, there’s an increased risk of accidents.
Cars are closer together, and there’s less room for error. If someone makes a sudden stop or swerves into your lane, you have less time to react.
It’s a nerve-wracking experience, and it’s one that Dallas drivers face all too often.
In addition to the increased risk of accidents, congestion also means that it takes longer to get from point A to point B. This can lead to more aggressive driving, as people try to make up for the lost time.
It can also lead to road rage, as drivers become frustrated with the slow pace of traffic.
It’s not uncommon to find yourself sharing the road with oversized pickup trucks, SUVs, and commercial vehicles. While these vehicles are great for hauling cargo and passengers, they can also pose a significant danger to other drivers on the road.
Moreover, with the popularity of oversized vehicles in Dallas, there is also the added risk of distracted and reckless driving.
It’s not uncommon to see drivers of these vehicles talking or texting on their phones, eating, or even applying makeup while behind the wheel.
This means that drivers of smaller vehicles need to be extra cautious when passing or merging near larger vehicles, as they may not be visible to the driver.
Additionally, large vehicles require more space to maneuver and stop, which can be especially problematic in heavy traffic or emergency situations.
A large truck or bus may not be able to stop as quickly as a smaller car, which can lead to accidents and collisions.
As someone who has experienced the stress and anxiety of driving in Dallas traffic, I know firsthand how intimidating it can be to navigate the roads alongside these giant vehicles.
It’s important for all drivers to be aware of the risks associated with large vehicles and to take extra precautions when sharing the road with them.
Inclement weather, such as heavy rain, can also add to the danger of driving in Dallas.
But it’s not just rain that poses a threat to drivers, either. During the winter months, Dallas can experience freezing rain, sleet, and even snow.
For those who aren’t used to driving in these conditions, it can be downright scary.
The city receives an average of 37 inches of rainfall per year, which is slightly above the national average of 30 inches.
During the rainy season, which typically lasts from March to October, Dallas receives the majority of its annual precipitation. In fact, nearly half of the city’s annual rainfall occurs during this period.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Dallas experiences an average of 77 rainy days per year, which is higher than the national average of 58.
The combination of rain and slick roads can lead to dangerous driving conditions. In 2020, there were a total of 5,866 crashes in Dallas caused by wet roads, resulting in 2,529 injuries and 19 fatalities, according to the Texas Department of Transportation.
This represents a significant portion of the city’s total crashes, which numbered 33,428 for the year.
While snow is less common in Dallas than in other parts of the country, it still occurs occasionally. According to the NOAA, Dallas receives an average of 1.5 inches of snow per year.
However, when snow does fall, it can cause major disruptions to the city’s transportation system. In February 2021, a winter storm brought several inches of snow and ice to the area, leading to widespread power outages and road closures.
During the summer months, Dallas experiences frequent thunderstorms, which can bring high winds, hail, and tornadoes.
According to NOAA data, Dallas is located in a region of the country that experiences some of the highest tornado activity in the United States. In fact, Dallas Country has recorded more tornadoes than any other county in Texas.
In 2020, there were a total of 119 tornadoes reported in Texas, 10 of which occurred in Dallas County.
In addition to tornadoes, thunderstorms can bring other dangerous weather conditions to the area. In 2020, there were 1,090 crashes in Dallas caused by high winds, resulting in 231 injuries and 1 fatality, according to the Texas Department of Transportation.
Hail is also a common occurrence during thunderstorms in Dallas. In April 2020, a hailstorm caused an estimated $1.3 billion in damage to homes, businesses, and vehicles in the area.
While there’s no way to completely eliminate the risks associated with driving in inclement weather, there are steps you can take to reduce your chances of being involved in an accident.
This includes things like slowing down, leaving extra space between you and other cars, and making sure your vehicle is equipped with good tires and functioning brakes.
Poor Road Conditions
The roads in Dallas are notorious for their potholes, cracks, and uneven surfaces. These hazards can cause serious damage to vehicles, but more importantly, they can lead to accidents and injuries.
It’s not uncommon to see drivers swerving to avoid potholes or hitting them with a loud thud. This can be especially dangerous on highways, where vehicles are traveling at high speeds.
According to a report by TRIP, a national transportation research group, 20% of major roads and highways in the Dallas-Fort Worth area are in poor condition, with potholes, cracks, and other surface irregularities.
Potholes, in particular, can pose a significant risk to drivers. According to the American Automobile Association (AAA), hitting a pothole can cause significant damage to a vehicle’s tires, wheels, suspension, and alignment.
In some cases, hitting a pothole at high speeds can even cause a driver to lose control of their vehicle, leading to an accident.
While there are no specific statistics on the number of drivers who swerve to avoid potholes or hit them with a loud thud in Dallas, it is a common sight on many roads and highways in the area.
The Department of Transportation reports that road conditions are a factor in a significant number of crashes in the state.
This includes those caused by tire blowouts, lost control of vehicles, and other similar incidents that may be linked to poor road conditions.
According to the Texas Department of Transportation’s 2020 Crash Statistics Report, roadway factors contributed to 24% of the total crashes in Texas.
The report lists factors such as wet or slippery roads, obstructed view, and road surface conditions as significant contributors to crashes.
We’ve all been distracted driving, trying to get to our destination while simultaneously responding to a text message or changing the music on our playlist.
It may seem harmless, but taking your eyes off the road for even just a few seconds can lead to a serious accident. And unfortunately, distracted driving has become a common occurrence in Dallas.
Whether it’s because of cell phone use, eating, or even just daydreaming, drivers are putting themselves and others at risk every time they get behind the wheel.
According to data from the Texas Department of Transportation, distracted driving was a factor in over 95,000 crashes in Texas in 2019, resulting in 394 fatalities and over 2,000 serious injuries.
In the Dallas-Fort Worth area alone, there were over 17,000 distracted driving crashes in 2019, with over 55 fatalities and over 200 serious injuries.
Cell phone use is a common form of distracted driving and is particularly dangerous because it involves visual, manual, and cognitive distractions.
According to a survey by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), at any given moment during daylight hours, around 9% of drivers in the U.S. are using a cell phone.
In Texas, 1 in 5 crashes is caused by distracted driving, and cell phone use is a leading cause of distraction.
Eating and drinking while driving is another common form of distracted driving that can lead to accidents.
A study by the NHTSA found that eating and drinking while driving increases the likelihood of a crash by 80%.
Daydreaming or being lost in thought is also a significant cause of distracted driving. According to the NHTSA, daydreaming or being lost in thought was a factor in over 6,000 fatal crashes in 2019, accounting for 10% of all fatal crashes in the U.S.
It’s not just other drivers that you have to worry about either. I’ve seen drivers run red lights, swerve into other lanes, and fail to yield to pedestrians because they were too busy on their phones.
It’s easy to think that you can multitask while driving, but the truth is, it only takes a split second for something to go wrong.
Reckless driving is all too common on the roads of Dallas.
When we say reckless driving, we’re talking about drivers who speed excessively, tailgate other cars, weave in and out of the traffic, run red lights and stop signs, and engage in other dangerous behaviors that put themselves and others at risk.
It’s not uncommon to see drivers racing down the highway at 80 or 90 miles per hour, or cutting off other drivers with just inches to spare.
According to a report by the NHTSA, speeding was a factor in 9,378 fatalities on US roads in 2018.
What makes this even more concerning is that reckless drivers aren’t always easy to spot. They can be young or old, in sports cars or minivans, and often seem to have little regard for the safety of others on the road.
It only takes reckless drivers to cause a serious accident, and unfortunately, they seem to be all too common in Dallas.
9 Tips to Drive Safely in Dallas
The traffic in Dallas is often chaotic and difficult to predict. With a bustling population and a complex network of highways and roads, navigating Dallas roads can be a daunting task, even for experienced drivers.
However, by following a few simple tips and guidelines, you can ensure that you stay safe while driving in Dallas. We’ll explore some of these essential tips one-by-one for safe driving in this city.
Avoid Rush Hour
If you’re a driver in Dallas, you’re likely familiar with the frustration of rush hour traffic. It occurs from 7 am to 9:30 am and again from 4 pm to 6:30 pm on weekdays.
During these hours, the volume of cars on the road increases significantly, and drivers are often in a hurry to get to their destination, leading to increased aggression and impatience behind the wheel.
This can create a dangerous situation for drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists alike.
To avoid rush hour traffic, it is recommended that you consider time blocking. This means planning your day so that you can avoid driving during the busiest hours.
For example, if you can shift your work schedule to start earlier or later, you may be able to avoid the rush altogether. Alternatively, you could plan your errands for midday or evening when traffic is typically lighter.
By being proactive and planning ahead, you can reduce your stress levels and stay safe on the roads, even during the busiest times of the day in Dallas.
Learn the Shortcuts
Navigating Dallas’s sprawling network of highways and roads can be a daunting task for any driver, but learning the shortcuts can help you safely and efficiently get where you need to go.
Below is a table of common destinations and their corresponding alternate routes that may save you time and frustration:
Southern Methodist University
North Central Expressway
Bishop Arts District
Remember that everyone is taking the highway as a fast route, but it is counterintuitive when it’s crowded with hundreds of cars. Back roads may save you some time and stress, but you will have to be patient with traffic lights.
Always Check the Weather
The city is no stranger to extreme weather conditions. From scorching summer heat to icy winter storms, Dallas can experience a wide range of weather that can impact driving conditions.
To stay safe on the road, it’s essential to check the weather before heading out. In the summer months, temperatures in Dallas can range from 90 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit, creating a dangerous situation for drivers and passengers alike.
High temperatures can cause tire blowouts, engine overheating, and even heatstroke in extreme cases. To stay safe in hot weather, stay hydrated and avoid driving during the hottest parts of the day, if possible.
During winter months, you can experience freezing temperatures, snow, and ice, which can create hazardous driving conditions.
To prepare for winter weather, make sure your car is equipped with proper tires, check your brakes and windshield wipers, and carry an emergency kit with essentials like a blanket, water, and snacks.
Even in milder weather conditions, it’s important to stay aware of weather-related hazards like rain, fog, and high winds. These conditions can reduce visibility and create slick road surfaces, increasing the risk of accidents.
Keep Up with Dallas Events
Dallas is always buzzing with events and activities, from concerts and festivals to sporting events and cultural celebrations. While these events can be a lot of fun, they can also impact driving conditions and create potential hazards on the road.
To stay safe while driving in Dallas, keep up with local events and plan your routes accordingly.
One of the key ways to stay informed is to check local news sources and event calendars regularly. This will help you stay aware of upcoming events that may impact traffic or require road closures.
For example, if there’s a major concert or sporting event happening in downtown Dallas, you may need to adjust your usual route to avoid congested areas.
Alter Your Driving Schedule
With so many drivers trying to get to and from work at the same time, it’s no surprise that traffic can come to a standstill on major highways and thoroughfares. One way to avoid the stress and frustration of rush hour traffic is to alter your travel time.
For example, if you typically leave the house at 9 am, you may be able to shift your schedule to start at 7 am or 10 am instead. This can help you avoid the worst of rush hour traffic and make your commute more manageable.
If you’re not able to alter your driving schedule, there are other options to consider as well. For example, you may be able to carpool with a colleague or take public transportation to reduce the number of cars on the road during rush hour.
Review Dallas Traffic Maps
Whether you’re trying to navigate rush hour traffic or find your way around a major event or road closure, it’s essential to have up-to-date information on traffic conditions in Dallas.
Online traffic maps and mobile apps are a great way to get real-time information on traffic patterns, road closures, and accidents. You can also check local news sources for updates on traffic conditions and events that may impact driving.
By viewing Dallas traffic maps regularly, you can plan your routes more effectively and avoid potential hazards on the road.
For example, if you see there’s heavy congestion on a particular highway or thoroughfare, you may be able to find an alternate route to avoid the worst of the traffic.
In addition, reviewing traffic maps can help you stay aware of potential hazards on the road, such as construction zones or accidents. This can help you adjust your driving behavior and stay safe on the road.
Use the Waze App
Waze is a navigation app that uses real-time traffic data to help drivers find the fastest and safest routes to their destination. The app collects data from other users on the road, including information on traffic congestion, accidents, and road closures.
It then uses this data to suggest alternate routes that can help you avoid delays and stay safe on the road.
Using the Waze app can help you navigate Dallas’ busy streets with confidence. Whether you’re trying to avoid rush hour traffic or find your way around a road closure, the app can provide you with up-to-date and real-time navigation assistance.
In addition, Waze offers a number of safety features that can help you stay alert and focused on the road, such as accidents or construction zones.
It can also provide you with alerts if you’re approaching a school zone or if there are police officers in the area.
Bike or Skate
Biking or skating can be a great way to stay active and avoid the stress of driving in the city. However, it’s important to be aware of the risks and take the necessary precautions to ensure a safe and enjoyable ride.
One of the most important things to consider when biking or skating in Dallas is the route you choose. While there are many bike lanes and trails throughout the city, not all of them are safe.
Make sure to plan your route in advance and choose paths that are well-maintained, well-lit, and away from heavy traffic.
It’s also important to wear the proper safety gear when biking or skating in Dallas. This includes a helmet, knee and elbow pads, and reflective clothing to increase visibility.
Make sure to also have a light or reflector on your bike or skates if you’re riding at night.
Another consideration is the weather. The city’s hot and humid climate can make for challenging riding conditions, so make sure to stay hydrated and take breaks if needed.
If the weather is particularly hot or stormy, it may be best to avoid biking or skating altogether.
Dallas Public Transportation
Dallas has a variety of public transportation options, including buses, light rail, and commuter trains, all of which can help you get around the city quickly and safely.
One of the benefits of using public transportation in Dallas is that it can be a cost-effective option for getting around the city.
Compared to the expenses of owning and maintaining a personal vehicle, taking the bus or train can save you money on gas, maintenance, and parking fees.
Additionally, many public transportation systems offer discounted fares for students, seniors, and individuals with disabilities, making it an accessible option for a wide range of people.
When using this, it’s important to plan your route in advance and familiarize yourself with the schedules and stops.
Make sure to arrive at the bus stop or train station with plenty of time to spare, as public transportation can sometimes experience delays or cancellations.
Another important consideration when using this is safety. While most public transportation is generally safe, it’s important to remain aware of your surroundings and avoid any suspicious or unsafe situations.
By taking proper precautions and staying vigilant on the road, drivers can navigate Dallas’ busy streets and arrive safely at their destinations.
If you are unfamiliar with the area or feel uncomfortable driving in high-traffic areas, it is always better to err on the side of caution and consider alternative transportation options.
By doing so, you can still enjoy all that Dallas has to offer without putting yourself or others at risk on the road.
Ultimately, the key to safe and stress-free driving in Dallas is to remain patient, attentive, and courteous to other drivers.