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.
Five of Michigan’s Most Crash Prone Highways and 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.
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
- Grand Haven
- South Haven
- 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
- Pleasant Ridge
- Hazel Park
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:
- Saint Ignace
- Auburn Hills
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.
- Grand Rapids
- Lansing to Michigan State University
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:
- Battle Creek
- Ann Arbor
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.
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.
- Treat the left lane as a passing lane, and always use your turn signal before changing lanes.
- Avoid cruise control when passing a vehicle or while driving on wet or icy roads.
- Turn off your high beams when you see oncoming traffic.
- Be on general alert for Michigan deer crossings, especially at dawn and dusk.
- Keep a safe distance from the driver ahead of you and never tailgate.
- Do not stop at the end of on-ramps and instead merge with the flow of traffic.
- Watch out for motorcycles, pedestrians, snowmobiles, UTVs, and bicyclists.
- Drive at a speed appropriate for changing conditions, including inclement weather and through work zones.
- 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.
- Give larger vehicles, such as semi-trucks, the space they need.
- Never drive a vehicle after drinking alcohol or using drugs, including marijuana.
- Ensure all passengers are appropriately buckled up, including children who should be in the right size child seat.
- Maintain your vehicle year-round.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.