In 2014, a total of 3,903 motor vehicle accidents were head-on crashes in the state of Michigan. Michigan Traffic Crash reports indicate a total of 119 of the head-on crashes were fatal crashes. In addition, 1,468 of the fatal crashes were collisions in which injury occurred. Michigan separates head-on left-turn accidents into a different category. There were 6,152 of these accidents, 25 of which were fatal and 2,387 of which caused injuries.
Head-on crashes are very dangerous accidents and motorists must be aware of where head-on crashes are most likely to occur. In areas where there is a greater risk of head-on crashes, drivers can exercise extra caution.
In high-risk areas, lawmakers may also wish to explore different steps that could potentially be taken in order to reduce the number of crashes which occur.
Where Head-On Collisions are Most Likely to Occur
In 2014, Michigan crashes occurred on roads throughout the state including:
- Interstate routes, where there were 33,609 total crashes, 90 fatal crashes and 6,021 injury crashes.
- U.S. Routes, where there were 24,343 total crashes, 75 fatal crashes and 4,127 injury crashes
- Michigan Routes, where there were 59,104 total crashes, 169 fatal crashes, and 10,950 injury crashes.
- Interstate business loops, where 4,771 total crashes occurred including eight fatal accidents and 856 injury crashes.
- U.S. Business routes, where 2,827 accidents occurred including six crashes causing fatalities and 495 causing injuries.
- Michigan Business Routes, where 78 total collisions happened, including 11 which caused injuries. None caused fatalities.
- Connector routes, which were the location of 643 collisions of which 140 caused injury.
- City streets or unknown roads, which were the site of 172,505 accidents including 456 deadly crashes and 29,791 injury crashes.
Not every collision is a head-on collision. However, 147 people died and 2,730 people total were injured in the head-on crashes which did occur. When head-on crashes happen, they routinely occur when drivers are traveling on two lane undivided roads, on rural roads, and on highways or the on/off ramps used to get to highways.
On highways, off-ramps, and on-ramps, prevention should largely center around making sure motorists are aware when they are going in the wrong direction before they actually get onto an exit or entrance ramp or onto the freeway itself. Reflector strips and pavement markings can help.
NBC indicated a lower-placed traffic sign could make a substantial difference in preventing drivers from getting on highways the wrong way, which could help to reduce head-on accidents. Drivers who get drunk account for 60 percent of drivers who go the wrong way, and drunk drivers tend to keep their heads lower. A lower sign could not only be seen more easily by these impaired motorists but could also be more visible in a car's headlights.
On rural and undivided roads, adding a cable divider or median could help prevent wrong-way accidents. Rumble strips could also alert motorists when they have begun to cross out of their lane so they could correct their vehicle before they strike another car head-on, potentially preventing an accident from occurring.