Key Points of This Article:
- More and more four-way intersections are being converted into roundabouts to reduce motorists and pedestrian injuries and improve traffic flow.
- There are about 5,000 roundabouts in the U.S. and more than 120 in Michigan, with several advanced circular intersections being constructed in Metro Detroit.
- The Federal Highway Administration says roundabouts eliminate dangerous high-speed right-angle collisions and fatal head-on crashes.
- While road safety experts say intersection roundabouts are indeed safer, roundabouts can be an adjustment for Michigan drivers who don’t expect them or are not prepared in the rules on how to navigate them.
The Severity of a Roundabout Crashes in 10 Michigan Communities
As road safety experts aim to reduce crash rates across the nations, roundabouts have become a favorite replacement for traditional four-way intersections. These circular, unsignalized traffic hubs allow for entering traffic to yield to motorists and other road users around a centralized island that is not passable. Regardless of size or number of routes from the circular path, all roundabouts’ fundamental and essential characteristics include traffic that travels counterclockwise, vehicles entering the roundabout yield to traffic already circulating and at slowed speeds, generally 15-25 MPH. And because cars are moving through the intersection with less speed, roundabouts have become a significantly safer type of road for all, including motorists, pedestrians, and bicyclists. According to the American Association of State Highway, roundabouts have significantly reduced the severity of crashes resulting in disabling injuries and death by nearly 82% compared to conventional stop-controlled and signalized intersections.
However, if you do become injured in a roundabout crash or any other Michigan auto accident, truck accident, or motorcycle accident, under the Michigan No-Fault Law, you are entitled to certain benefits from a car insurance carrier.
Oakland County Has the Most Michigan Roundabout Accidents
Michigan roundabouts with higher traffic naturally result in more accidents. Crash data provided by Michigan State Police (MSP) Traffic Crash Reporting Unit in 2019 show these ten signal-free, round intersections are the most traveled paths to watch out for. MSP data also shows that most of Michigan’s accident-prone roundabouts are in Oakland County, near Detroit.
#1. Sterling Heights:
Sterling Heights is a busy city in Macomb County and is considered one of Detroit’s core suburbs.
Roundabout to Watch Out For: 18 ½ Mile Road @ Van Dyke Avenue
- Total Crashes: 229
#2. Farmington Hills/West Bloomfield:
Located in Oakland County, this area is just a short distance from the Detroit metropolitan area.
Roundabout to Watch Out For: Orchard Lake Road @ 14 Mile Road
- Total Crashes: 178
#3. Commerce Township:
As a western suburb of Metro Detroit in Oakland County, Commerce Township is about 15 miles northwest of the city of Detroit.
Roundabout to Watch Out For: M-5/Martin Parkway @ Pontiac Trail
- Total Crashes: 161
#4. Pittsfield Township in Ann Arbor:
The Township is located in southeast Washtenaw County.
Roundabout to Watch Out For: State Street @ Ellsworth Road
- Total Crashes: 154
The county seat of Kalamazoo County, Kalamazoo has Interstate 94 (I-94) sitting on the city’s western edges.
Roundabout to Watch Out For: I-94 @ Spring Road
- Total Crashes: 71
#6. Farmington Hills:
This northern suburb of Metro Detroit is the second most-populated city in Oakland County.
Roundabout to Watch Out For: Farmington Road @ 14 Mile Road
- Total Crashes: 66
#7. Green Oak Township:
Green Oak Charter Township is in Livingston County. Busy shopping centers are centered off Lee Road near U.S. Highway 23 and make for congested intersections, including several roundabouts.
Roundabout to Watch Out For: Lee Road @ Whitmore Lake Road/West of U.S. Highway 23
- Total Crashes: 63
#8. West Bloomfield Township:
West Bloomfield is a charter township located in Oakland County, within the Detroit metropolitan area.
Roundabout to Watch Out For: Farmington Road @ Maple Road
- Total Crashes: 55
#9. Rochester Hills:
Rochester Hills is a suburb community in Oakland County, located 20 miles north of Detroit.
Roundabout to Watch Out For: Livernois Road @ Hamlin Road
- Total Crashes: 55
#10. Commerce Township:
Located near Metro Detroit, the township is in Oakland County.
Roundabout to Watch Out For: Oakley Park Road @ Martin Parkway
- Total Crashes: 47
While these more recent intersection designs are safer than other traffic crossways, education and updated driving advice are needed for Michiganders who might be unfamiliar with the road design. And remember, most car crashes at these intersections are less severe, but they can still result in vehicle or property damage. Claims may be made for vehicle damage to the negligent or at-fault party’s insurance company.
Steps to Navigating Michigan’s Roundabouts
Michigan drivers must become more aware of their surroundings when driving through any type of intersection, including roundabouts, and go patiently, using the safe roundabout driving lessons outlined below.
- Step 1: Slowdown as you approach the roundabout and watch for vehicles that may be speeding or drivers who seem distracted or confused.
- Step 2: Use the signs and lane designation markers to choose the appropriate lane for the intended destination.
- Step 3: Look for pedestrians and bicyclists as you approach crosswalks.
- Step 4: Slow down as you approach the yield sign and dashed yield line and avoid disrupting traffic flow by suddenly stopping or speeding through. Look to the left if vehicles are traveling within the roundabout, especially motorcycles.
- Step 5: Once there is an adequate gap in traffic, enter the roundabout. Do not stop or change lanes once in the roundabout.
- Step 6: As you approach the intended destination, signal your intent to exit. Look for pedestrians and bicyclists as you exit.
If there is a roundabout on your daily commute or in your community, and you are still confused, take another path to avoid it for now but work on becoming better educated on how to approach roundabouts. Practice with someone who can help you navigate through before you travel that direction again.
Have You Been Injured in a Car Accident at a Michigan Roundabout?
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 you can rest easier knowing your medical care, lost wages, and other expenses are taken care of.
Please call to speak to a Michigan car 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.