Panhandle's Deadliest Highways; Part Two

Highway 136 between Amarillo and Borger, 287 west of dumas, US 83 between Perryton and Canadian, and 1061 between Amarillo and Boys Ranch Road; these are some of the highways that TxDOT has been working to improve and that drivers may need to pay a little more attention to while driving.

â??Every time we have a fatal crash here in the Panhandle, we have a safety review team take a look to see if there is anything that can be done to improve that stretch of highway to make it even safer. We spend millions of dollars every year on maintenance and construction projects,â??

Right now, TxDOT is working on improvements for US 87, putting in â??super-twoâ??sâ?? or alternating passing lanes, similar to a multi-million dollar project they did for Highway 136. However, as TxDOT works on those roads, they say that drivers must take responsibility for their actions while driving as well.

â??There are times when you just find out that we canâ??t do anything more. Drivers need to take responsibility themselves,â?? said Braun. â??There are lots of things that can contribute to a crash, and a lot of that is driver behavior. Distracted driving, speeding, passing in no passing zones.â??

In fact, distracted driving is one of the biggest problems when it comes to crashes. Statewide, around 40% of crashes involve a distracted driver.

â??Weâ??re texting, weâ??re talking, weâ??re driving, weâ??re reading. You know, Iâ??ve even seen people putting make up on as they drive,â?? said Trooper Chris Ray of the Texas Highway Patrol.

TxDOT Traffic Safety Specialist, Tracey Tellman, stated that she believes it is very easy for drivers to become distracted while driving these two-lane highways, and that itself can be a deadly danger.

â??When you are on that long stretch of highway where thereâ??s not a lot of other distractions, you tend to get distracted by things in your vehicle,â?? said Tellman. â??Youâ??re staring at a long stretch of roadway thatâ??s flat, you get drowsy, itâ??s easy to stop paying attention to what you should be doing. So you need to be super aware of that and be prepared.â??

On highways like this, with narrow shoulders, short passing lanes, and a low margin for error, officials say that even the smallest mistake can lead to a large consequence.