Key Points of This Article:
- If you become injured or incurred significant damage to your vehicle in an accident, you probably want to understand your options for getting compensated for your losses and how to prove another individual’s negligence.
- From understanding how the Michigan Left works to the laws behind texting or driving while high, drivers may not be aware of the safe operating guidelines set out to reduce accident risks on the road today.
- As Michiganders are practicing self-isolation due to the coronavirus pandemic and on the streets much less, many should be encouraged to use this time to be reminded of how to become a responsible driver.
- Knowing the rules behind buckling up, traveling in the right lane, and navigating through pedestrian crosswalks, could have a significant impact on your future driving habits, allowing you to return to the road a safer driver.
Like many of you, we are practicing social distancing at The Lee Steinberg Law Firm, P.C., due to the coronavirus pandemic. Our team of Michigan personal injury attorneys and staff are committed more than ever to our clients while working remotely to do our part. As these times prove to be unprecedented, and many Michiganders are at home more often, their risk of becoming involved in a car, truck, or pedestrian accident has also been reduced, and our team has been thinking of ways we can help you during this time. We want to provide everyone with both useful and purposeful reading during your self-isolating time in the hope that you will soon return to the roadways a safer driver. Here’s a look at ten things every Michigan driver should know.
#1 Texting While Driving Is Illegal
Texting on a mobile phone while driving is illegal in Michigan. This includes reading, typing, or sending a text message. Drivers face a fine of $100 for a first offense and $200 for subsequent violations. Also, teens with a Level 1 or Level 2 Graduated Driver License who use a mobile phone while driving risk being ticketed by a law enforcement officer. Everyone Must Buckle Up
Under Michigan’s seat belt and child-safety restraint laws, a law enforcement officer may stop a vehicle if the driver and occupants are not properly buckled up.
- All front-seat passengers to be buckled up (including the driver).
- All passengers younger than age 16 to be buckled up, in all seating positions.
All children younger than age 8 to be in an approved child-safety seat or booster seat, in all seating positions, unless 4 feet 9 inches or taller.
#2 If You Are Speeding in a Work Zone and Caught, the Fine Is Double
Fines are doubled for all moving violations in Michigan work zones. In addition, motorists caught speeding in construction zones face increased points on their driving records. If you cause injury or death to any person in a work zone, you may face fines of up to $7,500 and imprisonment of up to 15 years.
#3 The Michigan Left
Michigan Lefts have been part of Michigan roadways throughout cities like Flint, Saginaw, and Detroit since the late 1960s. Michigan Lefts are a type of turn typically enforced in our state to relieve congestion and increase pedestrian safety. The law has been said to reduce the number and severity of crashes as well. On roadways where the Michigan Left is in place, left turns at the intersection are not allowed. Instead, to turn left, a driver must go straight or turn right, then make a U-turn at a median crossover, guided by road signage.
#4 Pedestrians Have the Right of Way
All Michigan drivers must yield to a pedestrian in a marked crosswalk, when turning into an intersection even if your traffic light is green, and to children in a school zone crosswalk. A driver must also stop:
- to pedestrians with disabilities;
- when stopping at a stop sign or a flashing red or yellow light;
- to a pedestrian in an unmarked crosswalk on the driver’s side of the roadway when no traffic control devices are present; and
- to a pedestrian who enters a crosswalk before the signal has changed.
Michigan drivers must also yield to a pedestrian who is crossing the street from an alley, driveway, building or private road.
#5 Driving in the Right Lane
Michigan is not unlike other states and drivers should operate from the right side of the road. Drivers are expected to drive in the right-hand lane except when yielding to leave their lane to:
- pass a vehicle in front;
- move to avoid a stopped car or a stopped emergency vehicle;
- move into the left lane by traffic control signs;
- cross the center line to make a left turn into or from an alley, private road or driveway; and
- avoid road construction, which is blocking the right lane or right shoulder.
Driving in the right-hand lane is not limited and does apply to both interstate highways or full-access controlled freeway in most situations.
#6 Some Deer Crashes Are Unavoidable
About 60,000 vehicle-deer crashes take place in Michigan each year. Annual costs for these crashes statewide are estimated at $130 million. Michigan State Police suggest if you hitting a deer is unavoidable to follow these directives.
- Do not veer for deer; stay in your lane.
- Brake firmly.
- Hold onto the steering wheel with both hands.
- Come to a controlled stop.
#7 Changes To Michigan’s No-Fault Law Are Prompting Everyone to Be Better Protected
Michigan is a “no-fault” state, which means that all parties in a car crash are eligible for benefits from their insurance companies, regardless of who caused the accident. The financial exposure every Michigan car owner and driver now faces under the coming changes to no-fault policies will be immense, and everyone should be adequately protected. The magnitude to which no-fault covers a victim’s medical expenses will depend on and be limited by the coverage level that applies to the victim’s claim.
#8 Marijuana is Now Legal but Driving High Is Not
Any form of marijuana consumption, including edibles, is illegal while driving. It is illegal to smoke marijuana as a passenger in a car. It’s best to treat marijuana consumption like alcohol. So even if your car or truck is off, don’t smoke it or take it if behind the wheel.
#9 A Flashing Yellow Arrow Light Means You Get to Decide
The flashing yellow left-turn arrow located throughout Michigan intersections communicates to motorists that they must proceed with care and decide if there is a sufficient gap in oncoming traffic to make a left turn safely. A flashing yellow arrow may be displayed before and/or after green and solid yellow left-turn arrows.
When the time for you to hit the road again arrives, remember these traffic laws and Michigan driver knowledge like your life depends on it. We also want to assure you that despite these temporary changes in our lives caused by the sudden spread of coronavirus, if an accident should occur, our team is available and dedicated to supporting your family. Stay well.
#10 Call Lee Free If You Have Been Injured in a Michigan Driving Accident
If you have been injured in a Michigan driving accident, the attorneys at the Law Offices of Lee Steinberg, P.C., are ready to use our decades of experience to help you move forward. Not only can a personal injury lawsuit help ease financial burdens, but it can help create community changes that reduce driving risks to others. If you’ve been involved in a motor vehicle accident, contact us today for your FREE consultation at 1-800-LEE-FREE.