Michigan’s storied history and one-of-a-kind landscape are uniquely American. The Mackinac Bridge connecting southern Michigan to Yooper country in the Upper Peninsula spans two different worlds. The northern tract is a veritable paradise on land and water while southern Michigan is a story tied to the rise of industry and manufacturing giants. But getting around in this diverse region means driving some of the Most Dangerous Roads in Michigan.
The name Michigan is from the Ojibwe word mishigamaa meaning large water and with over 60,000 inland bodies of water and the longest freshwater shoreline in the world it’s easy to see why. In fact, you are never more than 6 miles from a body of water and never more than 85 miles from one of the Great Lakes. Whether touring historical landmarks down south or regaling in the bounty of nature in the north, a memorable road-trip awaits. Here is The Advocates list of the 5 Most Dangerous Roads in Michigan to help you navigate the Great Lake State safely.
Top 5 Most Dangerous Roads in Michigan:
#5 United States Route 31
Running up the edge of Lake Michigan along the length of the western edge of the Lower Peninsula is U.S. Route 31. Rolling farmlands and lush forests amble by to the east as you make your way up the coast. The picturesque landscape on this drive is littered with landmarks with everything from sand dunes, lighthouses and amusement parks to the popular Traverse City State Park. Don’t miss a true slice of Americana with the world’s largest cherry pie pan.
Congestion near Grand Rapids is often problematic, especially during peak traffic times. Running so close to Lake Michigan this highway can be subjected to brutal snowstorms with the lake effect in full force. Be sure to check current road conditions before heading out in the winter months.
#4 Interstate 696
Although relatively short at only 26 miles, I-696 has garnered an unsavory reputation. It was designed as an alternate path around downtown Detroit and allow drivers an easier route from I-96 to I-94 north of the main metro area via the suburbs. Its reputation for speedy drivers has earned it the nickname of “Detroit’s Autobahn” with locals. See the following risk factors that may make you think twice before taking this route.
- Heavy traffic during peak hours
- Reputation for speedy drivers
- Several complex highway interchanges in a short time
- Original maximum speed limit of 55 mph was raised to 70 mph
Starting in a convergence of 5 different freeways it works its way east toward the “Mixing Bowl,” a complex highway interchange over two miles wide. Next it passes through a winding S-shaped stretch then heads into a series of large highway interchanges known as the stacks. The constant flux of merging traffic, fast drivers and changing terrain is guaranteed to have you driving on the edge of your seat.
#3 Interstate 96
Stretching from east to west across the Lower Peninsula, I-96 connects the major cities of Grand Rapids and Detroit by way of the capital city of Lansing. Like many of the roads in the area, it started as a Chippewa trail before becoming a plank-covered wagon road back in the day. As a well-trodden commuter route, traffic at times comes to a near standstill during peak hours. With annual fatalities from traffic accidents averaging in the mid 20’s, this busy highway is one of the most dangerous roads in Michigan.
#2 Interstate 75
Dubbed Michigan’s Main Street, I-75 is the busiest highway in the state and the only one that services both the upper and lower peninsulas. Coming up from Toledo, I-75 passes through the Detroit Metro area before crossing north over the Mackinac Bridge. For those timid about driving the 5-mile length of the bridge, shuttle service for you and your vehicle is available for a fee.
Access to Mackinac Island is near here offering a unique experience as it is the only municipality in the United States where motor vehicles are prohibited, bicycles and horse-drawn carriages rule the streets. As a gateway to the Upper Peninsula, during the summer months I-75 is awash with crowds seeking to reconnect with mother nature or looking to romp around one of the Great Lakes aboard a boat. Averaging a little over 35 fatal traffic accidents per year puts I-75 near the top of the list for the most dangerous roads in Michigan.
#1 Interstate 94
Heading east from Chicago and a short stint through Indiana, I-94 enters the southwest corner of the Lower Peninsula rambling through the farmlands of rural Michigan on its way toward the Detroit Metro area. After leaving Detroit, I-94 angles north to the Canadian border at Port Edward. Chocked full of architectural monuments and historical sites Detroit Metro sees over 19 million visitors a year. Here are the following risk factors of driving down Interstate 94.
- Heavy congestion is common anywhere near the Detroit Metro area
- Interchange of I-94 and I-75 is the most dangerous spot in Detroit for car accidents
- Heavy snow, fog and icy conditions permeate the winter months
- January and February see a dramatic spike in car accidents
Despite growing to 10 lanes at one point near the airport, congestion on I-94 is still all too common. The heavy snowfall from the lake-effect can make winter driving especially precarious. The Governor recently requested a safety study on I-94 after a 193-car pile-up during a blizzard in 2015. Averaging a little more than 40 traffic fatalities a year I-94 remains the most dangerous highway in Michigan.
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We here at The Advocates hope you enjoy your trip through Michigan and all it has to offer safely. No one expects to be involved in a car accident but sometimes the unexpected happens. If you are a loved one is injured in a car accident through no fault of your own, you should have the best car accident lawyer working for you right away.
Having an attorney who specializes in car accidents means they are experienced in handling everything from insurance paperwork and claims adjusters to negotiating the settlement amount you deserve. Let the professional attorneys at The Advocates help guide you through the claim process from beginning to end. Speak with a car accident lawyer at 208-995-2444 or use our Live Chat Here to discuss your case. We believe everyone deserves an Advocate.