- Data collected by the NHTSA shows Michigan is the most dangerous state for winter driving, with nearly 50 road deaths reported every year.
- Some of the worst driving accidents occur during the winter months due to several west Michigan counties which are notorious for having hazardous and deadly roads, including many freeways.
- Weather can serve as the primary culprit of most seasonal crashes, but distracted drivers and those who are not prepared to drive in severe snow and ice conditions are significant contributors.
- Motor vehicle accidents can happen suddenly, but drivers may be able to avoid a crash by staying alert, recognizing weather-related travel risks and knowing how to respond appropriately.
List of 10 Michigan Roads with the Most Winter Car Crashes
Michigan has long held a reputation of being a state that consistently battles harsh and brutal winters, earning it a top ranking on the ten deadliest states for winter driving list by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Followed by Pennsylvania, New York, Ohio, Colorado, Indiana, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois and Texas, several freeways located in west Michigan contribute to the state’s 50 road deaths and thousands of crash-related injuries each winter.
According to the Michigan State Police (MSP) Traffic Crash Reporting Unit, Michigan roads with the most winter crashes from 2014 to 2018 include:
- Van Buren County: Paw Paw Township at Eastbound I-94 between 41st Street and Paw Paw Road. (54 Total Crashes, 5 Injury Crashes)
- Genesee County: Northbound I-475 between Atherton Road and South Grand Traverse Street in Flint. (53 Total Crashes, 16 Injury Crashes)
- Ottawa County: Polkton Township at Eastbound I-96 between the I-96 crossover and 68th Avenue. (53 Total Crashes, 8 Injury Crashes)
- Van Buren County: In Hartford Township at Westbound I-94 between 66th Street and North County Line. (53 Total Crashes, 8 Injury Crashes)
- Van Buren County: In Hartford Township at Westbound I-94 between County Road 681 and 62nd Street. (50 Total Crashes, 8 Injury Crashes)
- Ottawa County: Westbound I-96 between 24th Avenue and 48th Avenue in Wright Township (50 Total Crashes, 3 Injury Crashes)
- Ottaway County: In Wright Township at Eastbound I-96 between 48th Avenue and 24th Avenue. (48 Total Crashes, 7 Injury Crashes)
- Kalamazoo County: Sprinkle Road between Michigan Avenue and East Main Street in Comstock Township. (47 Total Crashes, 14 Injury Crashes and 1 Fatality)
- Kent County: In Wyoming at Southbound US-131 between 44th Street entrance ramp and 54th Street exit ramp. (45 Total Crashes, 8 Injury Crashes)
- Van Buren County: Antwerp Township at Eastbound I-94 between County Road and 30th Street. (42 Total Crashes, 5 Injury Crashes)
MSP also concluded that 14% of all Michigan car crashes in 2018 occurred where winter road conditions included snow, ice or slush compared to 9.8% when the weather conditions involved snow, sleet or hail and blowing snow.
10 Tips for Driving in Michigan During Winter Months
To avoid being involved in a wreck while traveling one of the state’s most dangerous winter roads, or any other path, review these ten tips from Steinberg Law Firm – created exclusively for Michigan drivers.
- Published by the University of Michigan in 2019, the Michigan Traffic Crash Facts – Speeding Analysis shows single motor vehicle crashes were the most common crash type associated with speed-involved crashes at 71.2% in 2018. And it’s harder to control or stop a vehicle on a slick or snow-covered surface. Always slow down for weather conditions and start following the speed limit.
- Let other people know your travel plans so if you don’t arrive, they’ll know where to start looking. Michigan is home to hundreds of rural roads rated in mediocre condition and many more are ranked worst in the nation.
- In 2018, Michigan’s infrastructure earned an overall grade of D-plus on a new scorecard by the American Society of Civil Engineers. So when traveling across Michigan bridges, be on alert for black ice patcheswhere the road may be damaged or appear dry and clear.
- Keep your vehicle prepared for winter drivingby replacing wiper blades and lights, filling up on antifreeze and window-washer fluid, checking for proper tire inflation, ensuring your battery has sufficient charge and packing a winter safety kit, including a hat, mittens, and a warm blanket to protect against the harsh temperatures. Michigan’s average low temperature in January is 17°F.
- Give extra road space for snowplow drivers, buses, big semi-trucks and anyone else towing a load. There is no need to follow any driver too close. In December 2017, three people died and 11 more were injured in a gut-wrenching crash involving more than 50 motor vehicles on Michigan’s Interstate 96. Many drivers were found to have been inattentive and following too closely with known limited visibility.
- When merging or changing lanes, accelerate and brake slowlyand avoid abrupt steering maneuvers, especially over slush filled paths.
- Avoid pumping anti-lock brakes and turn off cruise control, especially on icy or wet pavement.
- Follow your instincts to slow down or pull overwhen visibility is low such in blowing snow and winter fog, or when road conditions suddenly become too hazardous.
- Remember, never text while driving and do all you can to avoid distractions. If you see a winter driving accident, avoid the temptation to film it or take photos. If you need to use your phone to check weather radar or road conditions, pull into a safe zone such as a gas station or parking lot near your closest exit.
- Marijuana is now a legal recreational drug in Michigan but driving while high is still illegal and extremely dangerous, as is drinking and driving. These selfish acts slow a driver’s reaction time, and fuels all other known motor vehicle crash risks, including drowsy driving.
For more information and statistics used in this post, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and Michigan State Police for the request to access Michigan State Police Traffic Crash Reporting Unit data.
Have You Been Injured in a Winter Driving Accident in Michigan?
If yes, we don’t have to tell you about the difficulties of recovering from a serious accident or caring for an injured loved one. The Michigan auto accident attorneys at Steinberg Law Firm understand these challenges well, and our attorneys have a long history of helping clients overcome them. Our highest satisfaction comes from winning a case and knowing our clients can rest easier now that their medical care, lost wages, and other expenses will be taken care of. If you’ve been in a winter driving accident and injured, call us today for your FREE consultation: 1-800-LEE-FREE.