Top 5 dangerous intersections in Mid-Michigan - WNEM TV 5

Top 5 dangerous intersections in Mid-Michigan

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Residents drive through Mid-Michigan’s busy intersections every day.

However, some carry a higher risk than others for traffic accidents. TV5’s I-Team went to work checking on those intersections and to see if anything is being done to make them safer.

It turns out, not much. Traffic officials said there’s a reason why.

“As I was turning, I had the green arrow and this guy went through the red light and smashed me,” said Karen Kusch, accident victim.

Kusch was involved in a serious accident at the corner of Euclid and Wilder in Bay County. She suffered fractured ribs, a bad bump to the head and several bruises.

“I spun around because, as I came to, I was facing south,” Kusch said.

Every year the Michigan State Police publish a list of the most dangerous intersections in Michigan. The I-Team drilled deep into the list to pinpoint the five worst intersections in Mid-Michigan.

Euclid and Wilder, where Kusch had her accident, is consistently on the list. Last year was no exception.

“If I didn’t speed up, cause I saw him just a split second, so I stepped on the gas hoping that I’d miss him, but I didn’t. But if I didn’t step on the gas it probably would have been a head-on,” Kusch said.

In Midland County, E. Wackerly and Eastman made the list with 33 mishaps in 2014.

Euclid and Wilder in Bay County had 32 crashes.

The intersection of Bay and Tittabawassee in Saginaw County had 46 accidents.

Another intersection in Saginaw County also made the top five. The intersection at N. Center and State had 44 accidents.

One intersection in Genesee County made the list. That’s at E. Hill and Fenton with 41 crashes.

The road commission said there’s so many crashes because of the number of vehicles flowing through the area.

Engineers said they are constantly monitoring all intersections trying to make each one safer.

“We also look at the rate, we look at the types of collisions that are occurring and then the rate of how many vehicles are entering that intersection,” said Bonnie Wood, traffic engineer.

The I-Team wanted to know what, if anything, could be done at the intersection of Hill and Fenton. Experts said despite the high number of accidents there, it’s not their highest priority.

“In this case you may have 41 accidents, or 41 crashes as it’s labeled in this chart, but none of them resulted in any deaths. So if I’m looking at this intersection with 41 crashes and I look at another intersection that might have three fatalities over the past five years, my attention is going to go to that intersection with three fatalities right off the bat,” said John Daly, with the Genesee County Road Commission.

The other four intersections on the list are all watched over by the Michigan Department of Transportation. MDOT engineers said they do all they can to keep them safe, but a lot of drivers pass through the intersections.

“There are over 50,000 cars a day that use that intersection,” said Greg Brunner, traffic engineer for MDOT.

Brunner is talking about the Euclid and Wilder intersection in Bay County.

He said MDOT has already done a number of changes at the intersection to try and make it safer, such as right and left turn lanes. He said don’t blame the intersection, blame the driver.

“The result is that a lot of these crashes are more or less because of a distraction of driver behavior, people looking at their cell phones, that sort of thing that is causing those fender benders,” Brunner said.

The I-Team staked out the intersection and sure enough, over the course of about a half hour they noticed at least five drivers apparently involved with their smart phone.

State police said to put down the phone and focus, not just at the traffic hot spot, but everywhere.

“A lot of these traffic crashes are occurring on dry roads and sunny days, which tells us that people just aren’t paying attention. They need to put the cell phones down and concentrate on the driving,” said Lt. Dave Kaiser, with the Michigan State Police.

Kusch said it wasn’t a cell phone that caused her accident, it was someone running a red light. As a matter of fact, she said it was an off-duty police officer.

Now Kusch avoids the intersection altogether, even though it adds a few minutes to her ride to and from home.

“You know, that’s a dangerous intersection, terrible, terrible intersection,” Kusch said.

The I-Team would also like to thank the law firm of Michigan Auto Law for help in researching this story.

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