Texas Highway Speeds Limits Are the Fastest, but Good Luck Hitting Them
Maybe the image that comes to mind when you picture Texas roads is zipping down a West Texas highway in a pickup truck with a dusty breeze whipping through your hair. It's the image Ford has probably seared into your mind through years of advertising, and one that's occasionally pretty accurate -- as long as you steer far away from Texas cities.
A Governor's Highway Safety Association report shows that Texas roads have the highest speed limits in the country. But we also have through-the-roof traffic numbers. You may be allowed to drive faster on Texas roads than in any other state, but you probably won't be able to because you'll be crawling in traffic past that 75 mph sign. In other words, your rush hour commute has just become about 10 times more frustrating.
The new report measures the average posted speed limits of each state's major roads. In Texas we have an average posted speed limit that's almost 2 mph faster than Idaho, the next highest ranking state. The speed limit on Texas roadways averages to just over 78 mph.
Part of that has to do with factoring in the Austin to San Antonio stretch where you can drive 85 mph. When State Highway 130 opened as a toll road in 2012 it became the fastest road in the country, and was promptly declared the "American Autobahn."
But a TomTom report from earlier this summer shows that Texas cities are some of the slowest. On a list of the top 50 most congested cities in the western hemisphere, only California beats us for the state with the most congested cities. Houston, Austin, DFW, and San Antonio are all in the top 50, while California boasts six cities.
And the cost of traffic is high. In Dallas, for example, you're likely to waste more than 59 hours and $1,000 in traffic this year.
Basically, you're doomed to sit in traffic, knowing that you could be among the fastest drivers in the country. Try to ignore the devilishly tempting speed limit signs that tease you as you creep along -- we hear blinders work wonders.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Observer's biggest stories.