The intersection of Telegraph at Square Lake roads sees tens of thousands of cars each day, according to the Michigan Department of Transportation.

The intersection of Telegraph at Square Lake roads sees tens of thousands of cars each day, according to the Michigan Department of Transportation.

Photo by Deb Jacques


Square Lake and Telegraph among ‘most dangerous intersections’

By: Kayla Dimick, Tiffany Esshaki | Birmingham - Bloomfield Eagle | Published July 27, 2020

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BLOOMFIELD TOWNSHIP— Using 2019 data provided by the Michigan State Police, the Michigan Auto Law firm compiled a list of the “Top 20 Most Dangerous Intersections.”

And a Bloomfield Township hotspot earned a place on that list.

The intersection of Telegraph and Square Lake roads had 78 total crashes reported last year and 15 injuries. The intersection came in No. 20 of the top 20 in Michigan and No. 7 of the Top 10 in Oakland County.

The most dangerous intersection in Michigan, according to the study, is in Sterling Heights, at 18 1/2 Mile Road and Van Dyke Avenue, with 229 total crashes last year and 14 injuries.

According to the group’s website, michiganautolaw.com, the stats include any accident that occurred within 250 feet of an intersection, including turnarounds and highway on/off ramps.

The data was pulled from the Michigan State Police Traffic Crash Reporting Unit, according to Michigan Auto Law.

Sgt. Pete Matejcik said the list used some pretty vague statistics to make broad claims, in his opinion.

“The only thing to keep track of statistics as closely as law enforcement is probably baseball,” Matejcik said with a laugh. “Are those statistics adjusted for traffic? Because that is one of the busiest intersections in Oakland County. And were a lot of those accidents from someone who turned right when they weren’t supposed to or plain old rear-enders? Because you get those anywhere.”

He explained that the most common crash type his department recorded at that intersection in 2019 was sideswipes, of which there were 37, followed by rear-end crashes, with 25.

Two-thirds of the incidents occurred in daylight, one involved a pedestrian and four involved inclement weather: two snow, and two rain. Five crashes were alcohol related, and just one of those crashes caused an injury.

The point? Matejcik said danger is in the eye of the beholder.

“What are we calling an accident? Are we talking fender benders or serious injury accidents? To me, that makes a difference,” he said. “If someone is pulling into the TJ Maxx or the Target off of Telegraph (north of Square Lake) and they get sideswiped in the right lane, that counts even though it’s not the intersection.

The culprit in that area isn’t speeding, necessarily, or careless driving. Just sheer volume, Matejcik said.

“It’s extremely difficult to find a place to do any kind of meaningful radar runs, because you can’t just jump into traffic without causing an accident yourself. By the time a gap opens up, the guy you want to stop is down at Long Lake,” he said.  

According to the Michigan Department of Transportation Traffic Volumes map, each day there are an average of 53,480 vehicles that travel northbound Telegraph; 67,893 vehicles that travel southbound Telegraph; and 67,101 vehicles that travel eastbound on Square Lake Road. There is no current information available for westbound Square Lake Road at Telegraph.

Michigan Auto Law attorney Brandon Hewitt said the group has requested the data from the Michigan State Police and has been compiling the list for several years.

“The overarching goal is information and awareness for the public in general, and we have two main audiences. The first being Michigan drivers. We want people to know what are the most dangerous places for you to be, and we want you to know that in case it’s in your neighborhood or on your normal route, so you can be extra careful in those areas,” Hewitt said.

Another goal of the study, Hewitt said, is to provide the information to cities, counties and the state so that they can possibly take a second look at them.

“They could maybe look at (the intersections) from an engineering standpoint. There has been a big move in the last few years turning some of the most congested and dangerous intersections into roundabouts,” Hewitt said.

Matejcik said the design of the intersection is as good as can be expected for a major crossing, so that’s not the problem, in his mind.

“I take my hat off to these traffic engineers and civil engineers who design these roadways. They’re pretty fabulous. But it’s all for naught if people aren’t paying attention,” he said.

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