Drivers either LOVE or HATE the Michigan roundabouts that have been popping up all over the state.
In theory, this traffic design allows traffic to move faster. In theory, they are also safer and proponents point out that the injuries that occur from car accidents that occur in them are overall less serious than car accidents in traditional intersections.
Reality sometimes works out differently than theory. In fact, on our list of Michigan’s Most Dangerous Intersections in 2019, four of the top five intersections with the most car accidents were in Michigan roundabouts. Thousands of drivers are filled with anxiety and confusion when approaching this unique traffic design, and as the statistics of reported car crashes shows, they have good reason to be anxious.
Are they truly safer?
In addition to involving the most car accidents at four of the top five intersections in the state, the number of car accidents reported at these circular intersections is significantly much higher than the number of reported crashes that do not involve them. Nor are the high numbers of car accidents occurring in and around them going down.
Below, our auto accident attorneys share the list of the Most Dangerous Michigan Roundabouts for 2019.
Our attorneys would like to thank the Michigan State Police Traffic Crash Reporting Unit for their assistance in providing the underlying car accident report data that we use to identify the Most Dangerous Michigan Roundabouts. The underlying car accident report data analysis for the list below is based on traffic accident reports filed by local law enforcement and police departments throughout Michigan.
Top 10 Most Dangerous Michigan Roundabouts for 2019
- 18 1/2 MILE RD @ VAN DYKE AVE, Sterling Heights, 229 Total Crashes, 14 Injuries
- ORCHARD LAKE RD @ 14 MILE RD, Farmington Hills/West Bloomfield, 178 Total Crashes, 22 Injuries
- M 5/MARTIN PKWY @ PONTIAC TRAIL, Commerce Twp, 161 Total Crashes, 12 Injuries
- STATE ST @ ELLSWORTH RD, Pittsfield Twp/Ann Arbor, 154 Total Crashes, 8 Injuries
- I 94 @ SPRINKLE RD (SOUTH OF I 94), Kalamazoo, 71 Total Crashes, 2 Injuries
- FARMINGTON RD @ 14 MILE RD, Farmington Hills, 66 Total Crashes, 13 Injuries
- LEE RD @ WHITMORE LAKE RD (WEST OF US 23), Green Oak Twp, 63 Total Crashes, 1 Injuries
- FARMINGTON RD @ MAPLE RD, West Bloomfield Twp, 55 Total Crashes, 5 Injuries
- LIVERNOIS RD @ HAMLIN RD, Rochester Hills, 55 Total Crashes, 4 Injuries
- OAKLEY PARK RD @ MARTIN PKWY, Commerce Twp, 47 Total Crashes, 6 Injuries
Source: Michigan State Police Traffic Crash Reporting Unit (Note: Any constructed in 2019 are not included on this list. A full year of data is necessary before one can be evaluated for whether it should be included in our annual list.)
No. 1: 18 ½ Mile Road and Van Dyke Ave, Sterling Heights
After seeing a 62% increase in car crashes between 2018 and 2019 – going from 141 to 229 – this busy intersection near a large manufacturing plant has taken over the top spot on our list of most dangerous Michigan roundabouts for car accidents. The significant uptick in auto accidents is surprising given that this interchange has been around for well over ten years and local drivers are familiar with it. Hopefully, safety improvements will be made in 2020.
No. 2: Orchard Lake and 14 Mile Roads – Farmington Hills/West Bloomfield
Car crashes at this congested, Oakland County circular intersection increased a surprising 24% in 2019 compared to 2018. Reported injuries were also higher than most other Michigan roundabouts with 22 in 2019. Traffic volume was likely heavier than usual in 2019 due the closure of the intersection of Maple Road and Middlebelt Road. With reduced detour traffic, there will also hopefully be fewer car accidents and reported injuries in 2020.
No. 3: Pontiac Trail and M-5/Martin Parkway – Commerce Township
This heavily trafficked circular intersection saw car crashes increase again in 2019 – from 138 in 2018 to 161. However, there were only 12 reported injuries in 2019 which speaks to the safety improvements seen from converting traditional intersections into circular intersections.
No 4: State Street and Ellsworth Road – Ann Arbor/Pittsfield Township
Although this busy intersection that straddles the border of Ann Arbor and Pittsfield Township saw its car crash rates gradually decrease in past years, the trend has unfortunately changed direction over the last two years. In 2019, there were 154 car accidents which was up from 123 in 2018. Fortunately, the number of reported injuries remains low with just 8 in 2019, thereby bolstering the claim that these traffic designs lower the likelihood of a serious personal injury or fatality occurring as compared to the designs of traditional intersections.
No. 5: I 94 and Sprinkle Road – Kalamazoo
This busy junction just south of I-94 had 71 car crashes in 2019, which was a 31% increase from the 54 car accidents that occurred there in 2018. In addition to ranking #5 on our list of the Most Dangerous Michigan Roundabouts, this one took the #1 spot – for the second year in a row – on our list of the Most Dangerous Intersections in Kalamazoo County in 2019. Fortunately, reported injuries remain very low with just two for 2019.
How to use Michigan roundabouts safely
Driver education is a critical component of driving safely through these circular intersections.
We’ve seen an increase in recent initiatives by local law enforcement to monitor 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 these circular intersections, you can visit our resource center to view an interactive map of both existing and proposed Michigan roundabouts as well as an explanation of how to determine who is fault in a car crash in this junction.
Our 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 circular intersection. You must yield to any circulating traffic. Once there is room to enter, then safely fill in the gap.”
- “Do not stop while traveling in the circular intersection.”
- “Upon passing the street prior to your exit, turn on your right turn signal and watch for pedestrians and bicyclists as you exit.”
We also invite you to visit our Michigan’s Most Dangerous Intersections page for a complete list of intersection car crashes, including Michigan roundabouts, that can be searched by any city or county.