Michigan is known for its beautiful landscapes and extensive road networks, but some roads carry higher risks than others. The 10 roads highlighted in this article have gained notoriety for their dangerous nature. Whether you’re a resident or a visitor, you must know these challenging routes to prioritize safety while traveling in Michigan.
The Michigan State Police Criminal Justice Information Center has recently unveiled data indicating a surge in traffic fatalities in Michigan. In 2021, there were 1,131 fatalities, marking the highest number recorded since 2005, when the roads claimed the lives of 1,129 individuals. These are not typical chaotic intersections or bad weather causing mayhem on the roads. Instead, specific stretches of road, both in urban and rural areas, contribute significantly to the distressing annual death toll in the Great Lakes State.
However, the roads themselves are not solely to blame. The drivers who participate in risky and distracted driving also bear responsibility. Here’s the compilation of roads that MoneyGeek advises extra caution, particularly for those embarking on year-end road trips.
Discover the 10 Most Dangerous Roads in Michigan
1. SR-3 Gratiot Avenue
The deadliest roadway in Michigan is State Route 3 (SR-3) as you traverse from Liberal Street to Van Dyke Avenue in Detroit. Recently, there have been 16 tragic crashes resulting in 18 lives lost within a mere 4.7 miles of this dangerous path. If you drive down this hazardous pathway, statistics show you can expect over three collisions per mile. To avoid becoming yet another statistic, motorists must take heed and prioritize safety measures above haste while steering through this dangerous road segment.
2. I-94, Romulus to Taylor, Exits 198A to 202
In southeast Michigan, a portion of I-94 has gained notoriety for its high number of traffic accidents and resulting fatalities. This stretch runs from Exit 198A to Exit 202 near the cities of Romulus and Taylor. According to data obtained by local authorities, there were a total of 12 fatal accidents recorded along this path over a certain period. All these accidents resulted in deaths — bringing the total fatalities to 12.
The authorities recorded a crash frequency rate of 2.8 incidents per mile traveled along this particular section of the highway. When considering the overall length of the roadway, which spans approximately 4.2 miles, it becomes evident why safety experts are so concerned about this area of I-94.
3. I-96, from Exit 182 to Exit 188
In Detroit, Michigan, a portion of I-96 westbound, which spans from Exit 182 to Exit 188, ranks as the third riskiest highway according to reports. Specifically, this area saw 10 fatal vehicle crashes over three years, leading to 11 casualties overall. Moreover, approximately two crashes occur each mile on an average across this 5-mile-long route.
4. US-24 Telegraph Road
The portion of Telegraph Road, US-24, extending from 7 Mile Road to Cathedral Avenue in Redford Township and Detroit, Michigan, is the fourth-most dangerous road in the state. There’ve been a total of eight fatal accidents recorded on this particular segment of Telegraph Road.
The reported fatalities resulting from these accidents amount to nine. On average, the crash rate is 1.7 crashes per mile on this road. Although this rate is relatively lower compared to the previously mentioned roads, it still signifies a significant safety concern and an increased likelihood of accidents transpiring along this stretch. The distance this road segment covers, from 7 Mile Road to Cathedral Avenue, measures 4.6 miles.
5. I-94, from Exit 222A to Exit 227
The section of I-94 stretching from exit 222A to exit 227, passing through Harper Woods, Detroit, and Saint Clair Shores, is Michigan’s fifth most dangerous road. Between 2018 and 2020, seven documented fatal accidents transpired on this highway, leading to a cumulative loss of nine lives.
Approximately 1.4 collisions occurred for every mile traveled on this route. In light of this data, it is crucial for drivers journeying along this particular portion of Interstate 94 to exercise utmost caution, remain vigilant, and adhere to safe driving practices in order to mitigate any further detrimental consequences.
6. SR-59 Highland Road
SR-59 Highland Road, which extends from N. Oakland Boulevard to Cass Lake Road in Waterford, Michigan, is the sixth deadliest road in the state. The road has witnessed seven fatal accidents, leading to eight fatalities. The crash per mile rate on this 4.1-mile segment is 1.7.
7. I-696, from Exit 21 to Exit 16
Ranked as the seventh most dangerous road in Michigan, I-696 connects Warren, Pleasant Ridge, Madison Heights, and Royal Oak from Exit 21 to Exit 16. Over three years, this section of I-696 has witnessed seven fatal accidents, leading to the loss of eight lives. The crashes per mile rate for this 3.7-mile stretch of I-696 stands at 1.9.
8. SR-120 Holton Road
SR-120 Holton Road, stretching from Hallstrom Castle Drive to East River Road in Muskegon County, is Michigan’s eighth most dangerous road. Over three years, this road section has experienced seven fatal accidents, leading to seven fatalities. There have been approximately 1.5 crashes reported per mile on this 4.8-mile stretch.
9. US-131, from Exit 84A to Exit 82B
According to statistical analysis, experts have identified US-131 from Exit 84A to Exit 82B in Grand Rapids as Michigan’s ninth most deadly road. In three years, this portion of the highway had six fatal accidents, resulting in eight deaths. Researchers calculated a crash frequency of 3.1 per mile along a short stretch of only 1.9 miles of the highway.
10. Greenfield Road, from Joy Road to Curtis Street
Finally, we’ve identified Greenfield Road in Detroit, stretching from Joy Road to Curtis Street, as Michigan’s 10th most dangerous road. A three-year analysis of accidental incidents on this road forms the basis for this determination. Specifically, six documented cases of fatal accidents resulted in eight casualties. The road section, measuring 4.5 miles, witnessed 1.3 crashes per mile.
Nearly One-Third of Fatal Accidents Linked to Drunk Driving
From 2018 to 2020, a staggering 803 out of the 2,820 fatal accidents in Michigan were attributed to the influence of alcohol. Drunk driving surpasses fatal accidents caused by distracted driving, speeding, and adverse winter weather conditions, establishing itself as the state’s most prevalent factor contributing to fatal accidents.
The impact of alcohol is frequently underestimated, with a legal intoxication threshold in Michigan set at a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.8%. However, even a relatively low BAC of 0.2% can impair vision and hinder the ability to perform two tasks simultaneously. Even a small amount of alcohol can diminish driving skills, threatening the intoxicated driver and other road users.
Regardless of whether a drunk driving incident leads to a fatal collision or not, the consequences of a Driving Under the Influence (DUI) offense are severe and enduring. They may involve license suspension, driving privileges restrictions, and/or even imprisonment.
Furthermore, a DUI conviction can make obtaining affordable auto insurance in Michigan more challenging. This is due to the requirement of obtaining Michigan SR-22 insurance, which is often associated with higher costs than conventional policies.
Speeding Accounts for 25.9% of Fatal Crashes
From 2018 to 2020, an astonishing number of 729 fatal accidents in Michigan were triggered by the reckless act of speeding, constituting a mind-boggling 25.9% of the fatal accidents. This alarming statistic establishes speeding as the second most prevalent catalyst for fatal accidents within the state.
Engaging in excessive speed while maneuvering a vehicle not only jeopardizes one’s existence but also puts the lives of others in grave danger. Whether traversing through peaceful suburban regions or cruising along bustling highways, maintaining a high speed can severely impede your ability to halt when circumstances demand. This intensifies the likelihood of causing a catastrophic collision.
The likelihood of accidents due to speeding differs considerably among young adults and teenagers, especially between males and females. According to recent statistics, around 30% of car accidents involving death among men aged 15-24 years had been speeding at the time of collision. On the other hand, incidences of women of similar ages experiencing a similar fate stood at roughly 19%.
Causes of Speeding Behavior While Driving
In heavy traffic, some individuals might drive erratically out of anxiety, resulting in dangerous behavior like recklessly changing lanes. Running late to obligations could also cause one to prioritize their schedule over everyone else’s safety.
Some motorists have no regard for fellow travelers on the road, causing them to make inconsiderate choices. Lastly, impaired judgment due to intoxication could hinder the ability to assess appropriate speeds, increasing potential danger.
6.3% of Fatal Accidents Attributed to Distracted Driving
Among Michigan’s top causes of deadly car crashes, distracted driving was the third most common factor between 2018 and 2020. During this time frame, 179 accidents involving distraction behind the wheel accounted for 6.3% of all incidents.
Compared to other U.S. states, Michigan fared relatively well by ranking better than 66% of them, according to data analyzed by MoneyGeek. However, despite the seemingly good ranking, distracted driving still poses significant danger on Michigan roads and requires immediate attention from lawmakers and drivers.
What Are the Three Types of Distracted Driving?
Distracted driving is more common than most people realize. There are three kinds of distracted driving. These include:
- Taking your eyes off the road
- Checking a navigation system or map
- Looking at a billboard or scenery
- Rubbernecking at an accident or incident
- Not paying attention to what’s happening directly around you and nearby vehicles.
- Removing one or both hands from the steering wheel
- Reaching for something inside the vehicle
- Adjusting the radio or air conditioning
- Anything that causes you to interact with things outside of driving physically.
- Mentally disengaging from the task at hand – driving safely
- Engaged in intense conversation with passengers or on the phone
- Allowing emotional stressors to override good judgment.
While operating a vehicle, diverting one’s focus on non-driving-related tasks can prove hazardous. Research has demonstrated how these destructions may threaten not only the driver’s well-being but also bystanders and occupants. To minimize potential harm, drivers must prioritize their undivided concentration on the safe and responsible operation of their vehicles.
With that in mind, reducing accidents caused by distracted drivers requires addressing multiple fronts, including legislative, regulatory, and public education initiatives and fostering personal responsibility in our communities.
August Records the Highest Number of Fatal Accidents
Surprising statistics from 2018 to 2020 reveal some interesting patterns in fatal vehicle crashes in Michigan. It turns out that August takes the lead with the highest number of such accidents, accounting for 11.7% of all fatal crashes, which amounts to a staggering 331 accidents. Following closely behind is July, responsible for 10.7% or 301 fatal crashes. September recorded 289 incidents, representing 10.2% of the total.
These statistics indicate a potential link between warmer temperatures and car accidents in Michigan. It is worth noting that these findings are unexpected, especially considering that Michigan is rated as the worst state for winter driving safety. Nevertheless, the significance of these results should not be overlooked.
Essential Safety Tips for Navigating Hazardous Roads in Michigan
- Stay alert and focused: Keep your mind on the task at hand and keep your hands on the wheel.
- Reduce speed: Slow down and give yourself plenty of time to react to changes in weather conditions or unexpected obstacles on the road.
- Watch out for other vehicles: Be observant of cars around you, especially trucks and buses whose extra weight and height can affect stability during high winds or heavy rain/snowfall. Leave enough space to maneuver and brake in case sudden stops are required.
- Pull over if necessary: If visibility becomes severely limited due to fog, snowfall, dust storms, or other natural phenomena, consider pulling over until conditions improve. Look for parking areas or side streets clear of traffic where your car won’t obstruct emergency responders or put others in danger.
- Wear seatbelts and use headrests: Ensure everyone in the vehicle buckles up and utilizes headrest support; it could save their life in a collision caused by dangerous road conditions.
- Maintain your car regularly: Before leaving on any journey, ensure that the battery, tires, lights, wipers, defrosters, heaters/air conditioning, brakes, suspension system, and mirrors function correctly.
Auto Insurance Matters
Auto insurance is essential for ensuring safety on the road. It safeguards you and other drivers and helps minimize financial strain in case of unexpected events.
Affordable Full Coverage Policies Are Key
Investing in an affordable full-coverage auto insurance policy provides comprehensive protection for yourself and your loved ones. Though accidents cannot be fully prevented, having adequate coverage enables peace of mind while on the roads.
Michigan’s Average Cost of Car Insurance
As shown above, the statewide average annual premium for auto insurance in Michigan is approximately $4,333. However, rates may fluctuate depending on where one resides within the state. Factors like your driving record, age, and zip code affect insurers’ pricing decisions.
Summary of 10 Most Dangerous Roads in Michigan
Here’s a recap of the 10 deadliest stretches of road that we looked at in the state of Michigan.
|Rank||Road||Crash Frequency Rate|
|1||SR-3 Gratiot Avenue||3 crashes per mile|
|2||I-94, Romulus to Taylor, Exits 198A to 202||2.8 crashes per mile|
|3||I-96, from Exit 182 to Exit 188||2 crashes per mile|
|4||US-24, Telegraph Road||1.7 crashes per mile|
|5||I-94, from Exit 222A to Exit 227||1.4 crashes per mile|
|6||SR-59 Highland Road||1.7 crashes per mile|
|7||I-696, from Exit 21 to Exit 16||1.9 crashes per mile|
|8||SR-120 Holton Road||1.5 crashes per mile|
|9||US-131, from Exit 84A to Exit 82B||3.1 crashes per mile|
|10||Greenfield Road, from Joy Road to Curtis Street||1.3 crashes per mile|
Enhancing Road Safety in Michigan’s Hazardous Conditions
Drivers face different challenges when navigating hazardous roads in Michigan, where they frequently confront poor road designs, adverse weather conditions, and various dangers that can result in severe accidents and even loss of life. These 10 treacherous roads in Michigan present significant risks to drivers, demanding utmost caution and awareness.
By being mindful and following established traffic laws, drivers can substantially reduce the risk posed by these dangerous routes. Furthermore, as technology progresses, advancements such as autonomous vehicles offer the potential to enhance overall road safety, affording motorists greater protection during their most dangerous trips.
The photo featured at the top of this post is © saraporn/Shutterstock.com
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