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Most Dangerous Roundabouts in Michigan 2018

June 19, 2019 by Steven M. Gursten

Most Dangerous Roundabouts in Michigan 2018 | Michigan Auto Law

Drivers either LOVE or HATE the roundabouts in Michigan that have been popping up all over the state.

Some people love being able to quickly zip through an interchange that used to be a conventional, traffic-clogged intersection. They fully understand the rules and the dynamics of the roundabouts and they pass through them without incident.

Other people, however, are filled with anxiety and confusion about the roundabouts in Michigan. And they might have good reason to be. The number of car accidents reported at roundabouts in Michigan is significantly higher than in other driving areas. Roundabout car accidents are stubbornly staying higher year after year.

So, whether you fall into one of these categories or somewhere in between, our own car accident attorneys present to you their list of the Top 10 most dangerous roundabouts in Michigan for 2019. Our attorneys would also like to thank the Michigan State Police for their assistance. The numbers of reported car crashes below was compiled by the Michigan State Police.

Top 10 Most Dangerous Roundabouts in Michigan for 2018

Our attorneys have analyzed data gathered by the Michigan State Police to identify the following list of the top 10 most dangerous roundabouts in Michigan for car accidents last year:

1.     ORCHARD LAKE RD @ W 14 MILE RD, Farmington Hills, 144 Total Crashes, 20 Injuries reported

2.     18 1/2 MILE RD @ VAN DYKE AVE, Sterling Heights, 141 Total Crashes, 12 Injuries reported

3.     MARTIN PKWY @ PONTIAC TRL, Commerce Twp, 138 Total Crashes, 9 Injuries reported

4.     STATE RD @ ELLSWORTH RD, Ann Arbor/Pittsfield Twp, 123 Total Crashes, 6 Injuries reported

5.     FARMINGTON RD @ MAPLE RD, West Bloomfield Twp, 77 Total Crashes, 11 Injuries reported

6.     LIVERNOIS RD @ HAMLIN RD, Rochester Hills, 63 Total Crashes, 3 Injuries reported

7.     I 94 @ SPRINKLE RD (SOUTH OF I 94), Comstock Twp, 54 Total Crashes, 0 Injuries reported

8.     OAKLEY PARK RD @ MARTIN PKWY, Commerce Twp, 51 Total Crashes, 3 Injuries reported

9.     FARMINGTON RD @ 14 MILE RD, Farmington Hills/West Bloomfield Twp, 49 Total Crashes, 8 Injuries reported

10. LEE RD @ WHITMORE LAKE RD, Green Oak Twp, 49 Total Crashes, 0 Injuries reported

Source: Michigan State Police Traffic Crash Reporting Unit (Note: Roundabouts constructed in 2018 are not included on this list. A full year of data is necessary before a roundabout can be evaluated for whether it should be included in our annual list of the top 10 most dangerous roundabouts in Michigan.)

No. 1:  Orchard Lake and 14 Mile roads – Farmington Hills/West Bloomfield

This is the most dangerous roundabout in Michigan and it saw the exact same number of car crashes in 2018 as it did in 2017. Injuries dropped slightly though from 24 in 2017 to 20 in 2018. The high number crashes lands this roundabout in the No. 1 spot on the list of Michigan’s most dangerous intersections for 2018, moving up from the No. 4 spot in 2017. That list includes all types of intersections.

No. 2: Van Dyke Avenue (M-53) and 18 1/2 Mile Road – Sterling Heights

This congested area where M-53/Van Dyke traffic exits onto the roundabout near the Ford Van Dyke plant saw a reduction in total crashes. Going from 165 crashes in 2017 to 141 crashes last year equaled a 15% drop in one year. Injury totals remain low at just 12 in 2018. Hopefully, this busy area near a major manufacturing plant continues its downward trend in 2019.

No. 3: Pontiac Trail and M-5/Martin Parkway – Commerce Township

Continuing at a slightly reduced pace is the largest roundabout in Michigan with 138 crashes in 2018 compared to 142 in 2017. But for a large three-lane roundabout, there were only 9 injuries last year which once again speaks to the safety improvements seen from converting a traditional intersection into a roundabout.

No 4: State Street and Ellsworth Road – Ann Arbor/Pittsfield Township

Retaining the top spot among the most dangerous intersections in Ann Arbor and Washtenaw County once again this year is the busy roundabout bordering Ann Arbor and Pittsfield Township. While car crashes have been decreasing the past few years, in 2018 there was an increase back up to 123 car accidents compared to 110 in 2017. Injuries though remain far below average with just 6 over the past year.

No. 5: Farmington and Maple Road –West Bloomfield

Just one mile northwest of the number one most dangerous roundabout in Michigan for crashes, this area sees significant traffic volume as well yet had no change in crashes with 77 in 2018. Unfortunately, though, this roundabout had an increase in injury crashes going from just 4 in 2017 to 11 in 2018. Use caution in this area.

Are roundabouts safer?

Roundabouts are known to reduce speeds but they also increase low damage car crashes where no injuries are reported at the scene of the car accident. So, the real question is – are roundabouts safer when they increase the number of lower vehicle damage crashes? In our experience, lower vehicle damage crashes in roundabouts and/or intersections are dangerous and can result in serious injuries to the victims of those car accidents.

There are some who would argue that these costly roundabout road projects, that are resulting in far more car crashes, should not be called dangerous. They argue that it’s not dangerous because an ambulance was not called to the scene.

There may be lots of car accidents, they argue, but that doesn’t mean these roundabouts in Michigan are dangerous.

This couldn’t be more wrong.

There’s a reason why emergency rooms and surgeons never ask to look at vehicle damage photos before deciding to render care.

Yes, people are more likely to be seriously injured or killed at the scene of a car accident during a high impact crash but the scientific and medical literature is very clear that people can be killed or seriously injured in a lower impact or even no vehicle damage car crash.

Putting on my auto accident lawyer hat, here’s why:

In any one individual instance, there can never be a meaningful relationship between damage to a car and the injury potential of a person involved in a car accident. A car accident victim who suffered injury in a low visible property damage might well fall into the 5% of the population who would have been injured by that car crash, but that can never be known until after the car accident has occurred, and only after the victim has already suffered injury. That 5% number is also an average based upon the population itself. That number can change. Five percent can become 20% or 50% or even higher based upon factors like age, height, weight, whether there has been a prior injury, susceptibility to injury based upon degenerative changes, seat position and height, whether the head was turned at impact or not, and dozens of other variables.

The fact that a car accident victim is not rushed by ambulance from the crash scene to the hospital is not proof that an injury did not occur. An ambulance at the scene may be consistent with the likelihood of a more serious injury, but long-lasting, life-altering injuries – such as traumatic brain injuries and disk herniations that go on to require surgery – do not always manifest themselves immediately at the scene of a car accident. They’re not always immediately apparent.

Brain injury is a process, not an event. There is a large group of people in our population who are incredibly susceptible to brain injury from car accidents. For this group of people who are more susceptible, likely due to genetic predisposition, the damage to the brain continues to occur for hours, days, and sometimes even weeks after a traumatic event.

I’ve found that people who are injured in a car crash often do not immediately report pain at the scene of the crash. Yet, every year, there are people who die in car accidents who appeared initially uninjured at the scene.

Then there are the thousands of people (yes, thousands) who go on to have major disk surgery, but who appeared perfectly fine right after the crash.

How to use a roundabout in Michigan safely

Driver education is a critical component of driving safely through roundabouts in Michigan. We’ve seen an increase in recent initiatives by local law enforcement to monitor roundabout drivers and provide needed education. Hopefully these efforts, along with other Michigan safety initiatives, will help drivers navigate these intersections with less overall car crashes throughout the state.

To learn how to safely drive through a roundabout in Michigan, you can visit our Roundabout Resource Center to view a “How To Survive Roundabouts” infographic, an interactive map and videos on roundabout safety.

Our Michigan roundabout safety tips include the following from the Michigan Department of Transportation:

  • “Slow down, watch for pedestrians and bicyclists, and be prepared to stop if there are vehicles ahead of you.”
  • “[Y]ou must drive to the right of the center island in a counterclockwise fashion.”
  • “Before you enter, look to your left and watch for vehicles already in the roundabout. You must yield to any circulating traffic. Once there is room to enter the roundabout, safely fill in the gap.”
  • “Do not stop while traveling in the roundabout.”
  • “Upon passing the street prior to your exit, turn on your right turn signal and watch for pedestrians and bicyclists as you exit.”

To learn more about the Top 10 Most Dangerous Roundabouts in Michigan, please check out our video below.

We also invite you to visit our Michigan’s Most Dangerous Intersections page for a complete list of intersection car crashes, including roundabouts in Michigan, that can be searched by any Michigan city or county.

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