Photo: Jacob Lund/Shutterstock

How to Survive Driving in Texas in 6 Easy Steps

by Turner Wright Dec 5, 2016

1. Traffic

Whether you’re on Mopac after 2 PM, I-45 north of Houston at any time of day, or 635 during peak hours, traffic in Texas has the potential to drive even the most patient among us completely insane. The trick is planning on living out your entire life in traffic; once your exit does finally appear years later, after you’ve met your spouse in the adjacent lane and added a baby seat or two to the back, you can retire behind the wheel.

2. West Texas

Anyone who complains about driving long distance in the northeast or midwest has obviously never taken I-20 from Texas to New Mexico. Imagine the longest stretch of road going east to west in the United States. Now imagine it’s longer. You’ll need at least a full day to go from Texarkana to El Paso – all while staying inside Texas’ borders – and most people aren’t crazy enough to do that. My recommendation? Stop by a Bucee’s every hundred miles and grab a corn dog, praying you don’t end up in a Texas Chainsaw Massacre situation.

3. Drivers

If there’s one constant around the world, it’s that every city claims to have the worst drivers on the planet.

Beijing? Worst drivers.
Bangkok? It’s a miracle you’re still alive.
Dallas? &#$@! Why can’t anyone merge properly??

Because a significant number of Texans are packing heat, we don’t always pull over and confront drivers who have no business being on the road. Rather, we passive aggressively slide in front of them in the fast lane, blocking them in as they slam their fists on the horn, seething with rage and confusion. Either that, or take the bus.

4. Roadside Attractions

Texas may not have the world’s largest ball of twine or whatever other Americana attraction that draws in tourists from Route 66, but there are stops right off the highway worthy of your attention. Schlitterbahn – listen to a non-Texan try to pronounce that! – is a water park between Austin and San Antonio just off I-35, its only competition floating the river with a six pack of Shiner. Eating the 72-oz. steak at the Big Texan Steak Ranch in Amarillo will be immortalized as the most Texan roadside stop there ever was.

5. Cyclists

On some roads in Texas – particularly in the Austin area – unusual creatures pilot two-wheel contraptions in the hopes of one day being fast enough to replace men on horseback as cattle wranglers. Strange dreams in the Lone Star State…

In any case, with all its endless prairies and desert, Texas attracts plenty of cyclists on the open road looking to satisfy their cardio requirements for the week. Don’t drive or stop in their lane, or they’ll look at you menacingly and threaten to post your license plate to their Instagram; this is the cyclists’ equivalent of calling for a nuclear launch.

6. Natural Beauty

There’s more to see in Texas than endless roads passing through flat fields (but that’s easy enough to find). If you take I-37 all the way south to the Mexico border, you’ll see Texas become as tropical as Miami. Head north across the panhandle and the natural beauty of Palo Duro Canyon will welcome you. From Natural Bridge Caverns to Big Bend National Park, there are wonders just a short drive off major interstates in Texas.

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