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Michigan’s top 20 roads with the most winter car accidents

December 29, 2015 by Steven M. Gursten

Learn the most dangerous roads to avoid in snowy and icy conditions during your winter travels

winter driving

We’ve seen an unusually mild November and December this year. But as Michigan drivers know – especially after yesterday’s treacherous ice storm in metro Detroit – road conditions can change quickly.

Nationally, poor weather-related driving conditions are associated with 7,000 fatalities, 800,000 injuries, and more than 1.5 million automobile accidents annually in the United States (National Research Council. Where the Weather Meets the Road. Washington, DC: National Academies Press; 2004). And adverse winter weather is a cause in 28% of total auto accidents and nearly 20% of wrongful deaths and highway fatalities, according to Weather and Highways: Report of a Policy Forum. Washington, DC: American Meteorological Society; 2004.

Here in Michigan, the risks of winter driving hits home.

Winter Infrographic

You may recall the huge 193-vehicle pileup that occurred last January on I-94 west of Battle Creek and shut down the interstate last year for two days. A total of 58 of those drivers were cited for driving too fast for weather conditions and the Michigan State Police found that approximately 65% of the overall winter season car crashes involved a vehicle driving “too fast for conditions.” As attorneys that help auto accident victims, excessive speed for road conditions is always the No. 1 factor in causing otherwise preventable crashes, especially in bad winter road conditions.

With thanks to the Michigan State Police Traffic Crash Reporting Unit, our lawyers were able to obtain crash data that highlights what roads and intersections had the most car accidents during a recent five-year period during the winter span of November through March.  Every Michigan winter is different, but with two of the worst in history over the past two years, we felt a five-year period would provide a better overall picture instead of just focusing on one season alone.

Below are the Michigan roads that put you at the highest risk for a car accident in winter:

Michigan Auto Law

Top 20 Michigan Road Segments for Car Crashes in Winter Conditions*

Rank Road Segment Total Crashes
1 W I-94 between 50th Street and 46th street
Lawrence Township/Van Buren County
2 Sprinkle Road between East Michigan Avenue and East Main Street
Comstock Township/Kalamazoo County
3 West I-94 between 62nd Street and County Road 681
Hartford Township/Van Buren County
4 East I-96 between I-96 crossover and 68th Avenue
Polkton Township/Ottawa County
5 East I-94 Between 41st Street and Paw Paw Road
Paw Paw Township/Van Buren County
6 East I-94 between 62 Street and County Road 681
Hartford Township/Van Buren County
7 West I-96 between I-96 crossover and 24th Avenue
Wright Township/Ottawa County
8 Eastbound I-96 between I-96 crossover and 24th Avenue
Wright Township/Ottawa County
9 Eastbound I-94 between County Road 653 and I-94 crossover
Antwerp Township/Van Buren County
10 South US 31 Between – 96 and business 31/Seaway Drive
Norton Shores/Muskegon County
11 East I 94 between I-94 crossover and 64th Street
Hartford Towship/Van Buren County
12 West I-196 between Lane Avenue Northwest and West I-196/2nd ramp
Grand Rapids/Kent County
13 S US-131 between South US-131/54th Ramp and 44th/South US-131 Ramp
Wyoming/Kent County
14 West I-69 between West I-69/Hammerburg Ramp and Fendon Road
Flint/Genesee County
15 East I-94 between 50th Street and 46th Street
Lawrence Township/Van Buren County
16 East I-94 between North US-127 and North Clinton/East I-94 ramp
Blackman Township/Jackson County
17 North I-475 Between South Grand Traverse Street and Eatherton Road
Flint/Genesee County
18 Stadium Drive between Rambling Road and Howard Street
Kalamazoo/Kalamazoo County
19 44th Street Southeast between Applewood Drive Southeast and Bretonwood Southeast
Grand Rapids/Kent County
20 S US-131 between 129th Avenue and US131 Exit Ramp
Wayland Twp/Allegan County

*Winter accidents that occurred in November through March, for the past five years, in snowy, slushy or icy conditions only. A road segment is defined as a stretch of any public road, varying in length but usually a mile or less.

 – Source: Michigan State Police Traffic Crash Reporting Unit

When looking at stretches of public roads and highways in Michigan, it comes as no surprise that most of these road segments are major freeways throughout the state. With varying speeds, commercial trucks and on/off ramps, freeways pose many hazards in winter conditions.

What’s surprising is that many of these high crash roads are in rural areas. This is due more to excessive speed as the root cause of most winter car accidents. The road segments listed are popular high-speed routes between larger cities. Additionally, 70% of these roads are in West Michigan.

Our attorneys hope that by sharing this list, we can help make drivers aware of areas that put you and your families at higher risk of being involved in a winter car accident. We encourage drivers to pay attention to road and weather conditions, slow down and drive for the conditions to minimize your risk of an auto accident.

And remember, slowing down is always your best defense during icy road conditions and winter weather.

In addition, visit our Michigan Dangerous Intersections page for a complete list of intersection car crashes that can be searched by any Michigan city or county, and our list of Michigan’s 2016 Top 20 Most Dangerous Intersections.

Related info:

14 winter driving tips: How to avoid car accidents in snow and ice

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