Dangerous Interstates & Most Dangerous Roads in Michigan

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Most Dangerous Roads in Michigan and Congested Interstates

dangerous roads in michigan state

Key Points of This Article:

  • Around 35,000 and 40,000 people die on U.S. highways each year, and close to 1,000 people do not return home in Michigan annually due to traffic crashes, with many more injured or disabled.
  • Of all highway crashes, 94% are believed to occur due to some type of human error such as speeding or drinking and driving, drowsiness, or distracted driving. 
  • Michigan highways like U.S. Route 31, I-696, I-75, I-96, and I-94 are some of the more congested and dangerous for motorists to travel when estimating crash risks.
  • Highway driving accidents tend to happen without warning, but you may be able to avoid a dangerous driver by keeping yourself alert, sober, and following safe driving rules.

Most Dangerous Roads in Michigan & Dangerous Interstates

Although Michigan saw fewer motor vehicles on the road in 2020, there were more traffic deaths and related injuries despite the decrease in travelers. A significant number of those crashes did occur on highways and interstates, according to the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT), with nearly 40% of all fatal car crashes occurring on state expressways including, I-96, I-75, and I-94. 

Here is a quick look at five of the most crash-prone highways and interstates in Michigan and a recent accident that occurred on each.

  1. U.S. Route 31: Contributing factors to high crash rates on U.S. Highway 31 include driving too fast for weather conditions, increased deer movement at road crossings, traffic signal and intersection violations, distracted and drowsy driving, and driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. U.S. 31 passes through:
    • Traverse City
    • Charlevoix
    • Manistee
    • Grand Haven
    • Holland
    • South Haven
    • Petoskey
    • Bear Lake

U.S. 31 recent accident news: Michigan State Police reported a rollover crash in Whitehall Township with injuries to the driver and passenger.

  • Interstate 696 (I-696): Also known as Walter P. Reuther Freeway, I-696 is a bypass with eight lanes for most of its route, detouring around the city of Detroit and through Oakland and Macomb counties. Its path travels through I-94 and into these suburbs and communities:
    • Metro Detroit
    • Center Line
    • Warren
    • Pleasant Ridge
    • Farmington
    • Hazel Park
    • Southfield

I-696 recent accident news: A fiery crash closed down westbound lanes on I-696 in Warren, which required emergency crews to respond to several individuals injured in the wreck.

  • Interstate 75 (I-75): Crashes involving semi-trucks and rear-end accidents are the most common types reported on I-75. Northbound I-75 between the Warren Avenue exit and I-94 exit to Detroit is well known for having the area’s heaviest traffic volume with the highest number of severe injury crashes, according to MDOT. I-75 passes these Michigan cities:
    • Detroit
    • Saint Ignace
    • Auburn Hills
    • Flint
    • Monroe
    • Saginaw

I-75 recent accident news: Northbound lanes on I-75 in Detroit were recently blocked due to a traffic crash that caused serious injuries after a semi-truck overturned on northbound I-75 near I-96 in Detroit.

  • Interstate 96 (I-96): With approximately 192 miles of road to travel, I-96 traverses southern Michigan from Muskegon east to Detroit and moves entirely within the Lower Peninsula of these Michigan communities.
    • Detroit
    • Grand Rapids
    • Lansing to Michigan State University
    • Muskegon
    • Novi
    • Livonia

I-96 recent accident news: One person was treated for injuries after a rollover crash on I-96 Eastbound by Plainfield exit. The accident brought traffic to a standstill for several hours and triggered additional crashes.

  • Interstate 94 (I-94): MDOT identified I-94 between Hartford and Kalamazoo as one of the most dangerous interstate stretches in Michigan and impacts drivers in:
    • Detroit
    • Jackson
    • Kalamazoo
    • Battle Creek
    • Ann Arbor
    • Parma

I-94 recent accident news: A Dearborn man was arrested at about 2:30 p.m. January 11, after he allegedly caused a three-car accident on I-94 near Rotunda Drive.

Detroit’s Most Dangerous Roadways

The Detroit Free Press had an interesting article recently about the most accident-prone freeways in the metropolitan Detroit area.   Looking at 3 years of data, specifically between 2007-2009, the Free Press analysis found dangerous roadways throughout the region, some extremely treacherous.  One of the most accident-prone areas was on I-75 between Rochester Road and Maple Road in Oakland County.  This stretch of freeway includes a dangerous curve that forces motorists to slow down abruptly and sometimes without warning, giving people little time to react to the action in front of them.

The data, compiled from Michigan State Police traffic crash reports, tells the following story:

  • Among the other top 20 high-crash segments of freeways in metro Detroit, most are in the suburbs, and more than half are in Oakland County.
  • I-96 and I-75 stand out, with seven high-crash segments each. In fact, stretches of both directions of I-96 near Inkster Road in Livonia and Redford Township rank highly. And there’s a cluster of segments of south I-75 near Chrysler’s headquarters and M-59 in Auburn Hills that ranks highly for crashes based on the freeway’s traffic volumes.
  • Freeways are less likely to result in fatalities than county and city roads.  In fact, in 2009 there were 871 people killed in traffic crashes, and only 80 were on interstates.  The rest were on state and local roads.
  • Freeways and interstates also tend to be safer when looking at the number of crashes per mile driven.  The Michigan Highway Safety Office said the number of people killed in crashes on interstates based on every 100 million miles driven in Michigan was 0.3, compared with 1.4 on smaller state highways and 1.1 on county and city roads.  Based on this data, it is more dangerous to drive on city and county roads than interstate expressways.

Highway and Interstate Driving Tips to Keep You Safe

Most driving accidents often occur on highways and interstates because drivers are traveling too fast, distracted or impaired, or following the vehicle in front of them too closely. Let’s stay optimistic that we can bring down the highway traffic crashes significantly by following safe driving practices.

  1. Treat the left lane as a passing lane, and always use your turn signal before changing lanes.
  2. Avoid cruise control when passing a vehicle or while driving on wet or icy roads.
  3. Turn off your high beams when you see oncoming traffic.
  4. Be on general alert for Michigan deer crossings, especially at dawn and dusk.
  5. Keep a safe distance from the driver ahead of you and never tailgate.
  6. Do not stop at the end of on-ramps and instead merge with the flow of traffic.
  7. Watch out for motorcycles, pedestrians, snowmobiles, UTVs, and bicyclists.
  8. Drive at a speed appropriate for changing conditions, including inclement weather and through work zones.
  9. Avoid distractions and put your phone away. Texting, talking on the phone, using phone apps, and sending an e-mail will get you and others seriously injured or worse.
  10. Give larger vehicles, such as semi-trucks, the space they need.
  11. Never drive a vehicle after drinking alcohol or using drugs, including marijuana.
  12. Ensure all passengers are appropriately buckled up, including children who should be in the right size child seat.
  13. Maintain your vehicle year-round.
  14. Stay patient yet assertive in congested traffic. If driving behaviors turn aggressive or cause moments of road rage, pull over and take a break.

Seeking compensation and Michigan no-fault benefits for accident injuries and other losses can be complicated; however, being prepared and knowing what to do after an accident will help.

Take These Steps If Involved in a Highway or Interstate Accident

The first thing to do is to make sure everybody in the car is accounted for and checked. If a cell phone is nearby, call 911 immediately and wait for the police and medical personnel to arrive. Make sure everybody in your party explains in detail to the authorities;

  • how the accident occurred, and
  • the injuries or pain they have sustained

Exchange information with the other motorist/s. Make sure you take down the license plate numbers, make and model of the vehicles involved. Take photographs and videos of the accident scene, including the vehicle damage for all vehicles involved in the crash and any injuries. This evidence will be useful when the car insurance companies are evaluating your claim or in the case of you being involved in a lawsuit.

Also, read more about staying safe after an accident in the time of COVID.

Even if you don’t appear to be injured, it is essential to be evaluated by a medical professional on the scene and later by a physician. Keep all medical visit summaries and related bills. 

Most dangerous roads in Michigan and highway driving accidents are quick and tend to happen without warning, and the results are more often fatal or cause severe injuries that many will battle for a lifetime. Michigan safe driving laws, education, and a greater awareness of highway driving dangers can help change the behaviors that make these crashes more likely to occur.

Collision Coverage in Michigan

We often get complaints from my clients about the way vehicle damage is handled in Michigan. I couldn’t agree more. Basically, because Michigan is a no-fault state, you are responsible for insuring your own vehicle for collision damage. So even if another person is more than 50% responsible for causing an accident, it is up to you to insure your own vehicle so the damage is paid for by an insurance company.

In fact, the most you can typically get from the at-fault person’s insurance company for your vehicle’s damage is $500.  This is from the “mini-tort” provision of the Michigan no-fault law.

This small amount can obviously leave a car accident victim very unhappy. As we all know, the repair bills for cars nowadays are much higher than $500. The $500 amount is a relic of the past, yet we are struck with it in Michigan. What can be done about it? Well, short of a change in the law, the only way is to purchase collision coverage for your own car.

Collision coverage is a voluntary coverage you can purchase from your insurance company. It covers repairs or replacement of your vehicle after an accident. There is usually a deductible that must be paid before your insurance company will pay for the collision damage.

There are three types of collision coverage: broad, standard, and limited.

Broad Collision Coverage

If you are 50% or less responsible for the car accident, your insurance company pays and you don’t pay a deductible. If you are more than 50% at fault, your insurance company still pays for the vehicle damage, but you must pay the deductible.

Standard Collision Coverage

If you are 50% or less responsible for the car accident, your insurance company pays for the vehicle damage, but you must pay the deductible. If you are more than 50% at fault, it’s the same – your insurance company pays everything except the deductible.

Limited Collision Coverage

If you are 50% or less responsible for the car accident, your insurance company pays for everything, but you have to cover the deductible. If you are more than 50% at fault, your insurance company pays for nothing.

Obviously, Limited Collision Coverage is the least expensive form of collision coverage. The risk though is obvious.  If you cause the accident, you pay everything.

Collision coverage is a great way to have peace of mind when it comes to vehicle damage in a car accident. Although it can be cost-prohibitive, I highly recommend it if you can afford the coverage.

Just remember, collision coverage usually only covers damage to your vehicle when it strikes another moving vehicle. Damage to your car from vandalism, theft or a weather event like hail is covered by another optional insurance coverage called comprehensive insurance.   Comprehensive insurance is a completely separate coverage than collision coverage, and like everything in this world, you must pay for it to get it.

Either way, contact an independent insurance agent or call us if you have questions about collision coverage and other optional forms of insurance coverage.

U.S. Car Crash Fatalities Higher Than Other High-Income Countries

A new report, Vital Signs: Motor Vehicle Injury Prevention — United States and 19 Comparison Countries, provides significant evidence that fatal traffic accidents still remain a major problem in the United States despite recent progress. The CDC report, published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), compares the data on motor vehicle crashes from 20 countries.

To be included in the study, the country must have had membership in the Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), meet the World Bank’s definition for high-income, have a population greater than 1 million individuals, and provide specific data. To ensure accuracy of data, a country’s self-reported statistics on motor vehicle crash rates could not deviate substantially from the World Health Organization’s estimate for that country.

United States Improving at Much Slower Rate

There are more than 32,000 traffic deaths each year in the U.S. That said, there has been significant improvement over the past fifteen years, with the fatality rate dropping by nearly a third. The CDC report makes clear, however, that our peer countries have made much greater strides in decreasing the loss of life in vehicle accidents. Some key information includes:

Motor Vehicle Death Rates Per Capita: The United States finished last here, as a result of the slowest decrease over time. Our decrease was barely more than half of the average 56% decrease among all 20 countries, and it paled in comparison to Spain’s reduction in traffic deaths (75.1%).

Crash Deaths Per 100,000 People and Per 10,000 Registered Vehicles: We’re number one. And that’s not a good thing.

Deaths Involving Alcohol: Our northern neighbors in Canada take the top slot here, but the United States is a very close 2nd.

Seat Belt Use: At 87%, the United States is the third worst in front seat belt use. In addition, nearly 40% of children under 12 who die in car crashes are not buckled into a seat belt or restraint.

If the United States were to have reduced traffic fatalities at the average rate of all countries in the study, 18,000 additional lives would have been saved. The causes of most vehicular accident deaths are well-known: drunk driving, speeding, and not wearing seatbelts. The question is then, how do we tackle those problems better to save lives?

The CDC report recommendations are also common sense, but the pathway to convincing individuals to make sensible decisions is much less clear. The CDC recommendations include seat belt usage on every trip by every person in every seat, not driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, adhering to speed limits, and avoiding distractions while driving.

Have You Been Injured in a Michigan Highway or Interstate Accident?

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. We know you understand far too well how hard it can be to heal while ensuring your whole family is cared for physically, emotionally, and financially.

The Michigan auto accident attorneys at the Lee Steinberg Law Firm, P.C. understand your situation well, and we have a long history of representing vulnerable clients. Our greatest satisfaction comes from winning or settling a case and knowing our clients’ can rest easier knowing their medical care, lost wages, and other expenses are taken care of.

Please call to speak to a Michigan highway accident attorney at 1-800-LEE-FREE (1-800-533-3733) as soon as you are ready. And remember, you pay nothing until we settle your case.

Also read: What Questions Should I Ask an Attorney About a Car Accident?