Most dangerous stretches of I-696 identified

By: Mark Vest | C&G Newspapers | Published December 20, 2021

 Michigan Auto Law has released its list of the 10 most dangerous stretches of I-696.

Michigan Auto Law has released its list of the 10 most dangerous stretches of I-696.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

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OAKLAND COUNTY — An auto law group has released its list of the state’s top 10 most dangerous stretches of Interstate 696.

According to a press release, the information is based on car accident data from 2016-2020.

The release states that despite crashes dropping in 2020, fatal crashes on I-696 increased.

The time of day for most crashes was between 4 and 6 p.m., with the most accidents occurring on Wednesdays, according to Michigan Auto Law, which has locations in Farmington Hills, Sterling Heights, Detroit, Ann Arbor and Grand Rapids. 

“Continuing an already existing downward trend, overall and injury-related I-696 accidents decreased in 2020 due to reduced traffic levels. Unfortunately, fatalities increased in 2020, after a decrease in 2018,” attorney and Michigan Auto Law President Steven Gursten stated in the release. “Driving on interstates always poses a risk, but with so many drivers speeding, talking and texting on their phones, and driving while sleepy or under the influence of alcohol or drugs, the danger is getting worse.”

According to Michigan Auto Law, the following are the 10 most dangerous stretches of I-696:

1. Eastbound I-696 between Bermuda Street/Mohawk Avenue and Campbell Road/Hilton Road in Royal Oak — 286 total crashes and 120 injuries.

2. Westbound I-696 between Halstead Road and Drake Road in Farmington Hills — 245 total crashes and 82 injuries.

3. Eastbound I-696 between Campbell Road/Hilton Road and the eastbound I-696/I-75 ramp in Royal Oak — 199 total crashes and 85 injuries.

4. Eastbound I-696 between the U.S. 24/S M-10 ramp and M-10 in Southfield — 149 total crashes and 36 injuries.

5. Westbound I-696 between Drake Road and Farmington Road in Farmington Hills — 146 total crashes and 45 injuries.

6. Eastbound I-696 between the I-75 Chrysler/Stephenson ramp and the I-696/N I-75 ramp in Royal Oak — 125 total crashes and 53 injuries.

7. Eastbound I-696 and the I-696 American ramp in Southfield — 107 total crashes and 27 injuries.

8. Westbound I-696 between the Orchard Lake/I-696 ramp and Orchard Lake Road in Farmington Hills — 103 total crashes and 25 injuries.

9. Westbound I-696 between the Orchard Lake/I-696 ramp and Farmington Road in Farmington Hills — 95 total crashes and 15 injuries.

10. Eastbound I-696 between Drake Road and Farmington Road in Farmington Hills -— 94 total crashes and 25 injuries.

Michigan Auto Law credited the Michigan State Police Traffic Crash Reporting Unit as its source, and noted that roundabouts constructed during 2020 were not included on the list due to incomplete data.

Royal Oak topped the list at No. 1, and also appeared at the No. 3 and No. 6 spots for the most car crashes on I-696.

Five Farmington Hills road segments were among the highest for I-696 car crashes, with Southfield segments appearing twice on the list.

Derrick Carroll, who is a public information officer for the Michigan State Police, discussed some of the biggest dangers on freeways.

“The No. 1 crashes on the freeways are rear-end collisions, which are more than likely a result of distracted driving or following too closely,” he said. “We have seen an increase in speed-related crashes, deaths, in 2020, 2021 — that continues to be an issue.”

Aside from paying attention when operating a vehicle, Carroll offered some other safety tips for drivers.

“Know their limitations, know the limitations of the vehicle, and also do not be distracted while driving, whether that’s listening to the radio, talking with other people in the vehicle or being on your phone, texting,” he said. “More and more we’re seeing people driving down the road and they’re looking at their phones. … That seems to be the most common problem we’re seeing out there, people being distracted by their phones, eating while driving. When you’re out driving you have several thousand pounds, you’re traveling down the road at some cases 75 mph on the freeway, you need to be attentive to what you’re doing and pay attention.”

Michigan Auto Law focused specifically on safety on I-696.

“To stay safe and avoid I-696 accidents, our attorneys encourage all drivers to drive safely,” Gursten stated. “That means driving defensively and attentively, observing the speed limit, buckling up and refraining from distractions such as texting. We would like to especially thank the Michigan State Police Traffic Crash Reporting Unit for their assistance in providing the underlying automobile crash police report data and the crash information that we use to identify the road segments with the most I-696 car accidents in Michigan from 2016 through 2020.”

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