Driving an automobile carries a lot of responsibilities, chief among them is staying alert and avoiding accidents. With that in mind, Michigan Auto Law has released its list of Michigan’s Most Dangerous Intersections and attorney Brandon Hewitt joined us to talk about which Kent County intersections made the list and why his firm compiles it. Only two Kent County intersections made the statewide top 20 list. US 131 at Wealthy Street is listed as the most dangerous intersection in Kent County. It ranks 9th in the state and consistently makes the list. Hewitt said intersections made the “Most Dangerous” list simply because they are the intersections with the most car accidents. The number two Kent County intersection, which is 17 on the statewide Top 20 List, is Burton Street at US 131.
Hewitt said Michigan Auto Law publishes the list of Michigan’s Most Dangerous Intersections as a public service because they want people to be safe. “Our hope is that by reporting this information about the high-crash-frequency intersections, residents in those areas will be better informed about how to keep themselves and their loved ones safe,” said Hewitt. “We want to alert people to the high-crash-frequency intersections in their area. That way, they can choose to avoid those intersections, if possible. Or, alternatively, they will know to be extra-vigilant and extra-safety-conscious when traveling through these intersections.” He added, “We also hope that the police and road commission authorities will find this information helpful in terms of making decisions about stepped up traffic enforcement and/or reevaluating the design of the intersections.”
Hewitt listed some of the reasons why intersections have so many car accidents:
- Intersections are inherently dangerous. In 2021, 31.3% of “all fatal crashes” in Michigan occurred at intersections, according to Michigan Traffic Crash Facts .
- The same dangerous driving behaviors create even more of a crash risk at intersections where two or more roads intersect, there is more traffic, the traffic is going is more different directions, there is stopping and starting, and traffic signals and signs to comply with.
- Impaired driving
- Distracted driving
- Traffic volume may exceed what the roads were designed to handle (i.e., unexpected commercial growth in the area due to stores, restaurants, hotels, malls)
- Intersection design (i.e., timing of the lights, more turn lanes may be needed)
- Bad roads.
Hewitt said there are many things drivers can do to stay safe when driving through intersections:
- Be alert to what other vehicles, motorcycles, bicyclists and pedestrians are doing
- Even when you have the green light, look both ways as you enter the intersection in case someone is running a red light on the cross street
- Watch for pedestrians crossing the road you are traveling on or the road you are turning onto
- No texting while driving
- No talking on the cellphone
- No distractions
- Keep your speed down
- No drunk, drugged or drowsy driving
- Wear seat belts
What should you do at the scene of an intersection crash?
- Stop at the crash scene
- Provide to the police and others involved in the crash your name, address, vehicle registration number and the name and address of the vehicle’s owner (if it is not you)
- Present your driver’s license to the police and others involved
- “[R]ender to any individual injured in the accident reasonable assistance in securing medical aid.” (MCL 257.617(1); 257.617a(1); 257.618(1); and 257.619(a-c))
- Stay calm
- Call the police
- Seek medical treatment now and if you experience new symptoms later
- Report ALL injuries to first responders and emergency room personnel
- Never give statements to an insurance adjuster or sign a release
- Photograph the scene
- Notify your insurance company immediately and file an application for benefits
- Obtain a copy of your police report
- Attend all medical appointments
- Keep good records
- Check your auto insurance policy for very specific notice requirements
Michigan law specifies whether a driver who’s been involved in an intersection crash should move their vehicle. It says if the crash resulted in a serious injury or fatality, the vehicle should NOT be moved. (MCL 257.618a(1)) Otherwise, a driver should move their vehicle “from the main traveled portion of the roadway” and onto the shoulder or an emergency lane or median so long it can “be done safely” and the vehicle “can be operated under its own power in its customary manner . . .” (MCL 257.618a(1)) For more information, or to consult with an attorney, call 833-411-MICH or visit www.michiganautolaw.com.
This story is sponsored by Michigan Auto Law.
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