Holiday Shopping Means Heavier Traffic

With Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, family gatherings, and office holiday parties rapidly approaching, more and more Americans are going to be heading to the mall to do some shopping. As much as we tell ourselves the holidays aren’t about the gifts, Americans spend a lot of time and money each year buying presents for others (and quite possibly themselves). In fact, Fortune reported that holiday sales exceeded $1 trillion in 2016. And when that many people are heading to the mall, it not only means long checkout lines, but long traffic lines as well.

While Black Friday, which took place on November 24, 21017 is often thought of as the pinnacle of holiday shopping days, according to ShoppingTrak, Saturday, December 23, 2017, is a close second. While December 23rd may seem like an arbitrary date, the last Saturday before Christmas is known in retail as Super Saturday, because shoppers are finishing up finishing up their gift purchases or have left all of their shopping until the last minute. According to Fortune, 155.7 million people went shopping on Super Saturday in 2016. By the time Super Saturday rolls around, it is likely too late to be placing any online orders, so shoppers must go to the store. Rounding out the top five shopping days of the year are December 16, 2017, (the second to last Saturday before Christmas) December 26, 2017 (presumably when people are making returns and exchanges), and November 25, 2017 (the day after Black Friday).

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With millions of people going shopping on Super Saturday, and really throughout all of December, traffic near malls and shopping centers is going to be worse than usual. Whether you’re a shopper trying to get in on the action, or someone who finds themselves in the unfortunate position of living or working near a big shopping area, the traffic will be hard to miss. Parking lots will be chaotic, highway exits will be backed up, and more pedestrians than usual will be on the streets. And no matter how much you love the holidays, sitting in traffic can be frustrating, to say the least. So, to keep tempers down, driving school Aceable has some tips on to how drivers can avoid road rage when stuck in shopping traffic, and what to do should you find yourself in a motor vehicle accident with an aggressive driver.  

Tips for Avoiding Road Rage

  • Most road ragers are usually dealing with some sort of emotional crisis, so if your girlfriend or boyfriend just broke up with you (or got unpleasant news from your doctor, or just woke up on the wrong side of the bed), be extra careful when you get behind the wheel. Give yourself some time to defuse before getting behind the wheel.

  • Expect other drivers to make mistakes and remember that everyone is human. You’ll be less freaked out when they do.

  • Be predictable. Always check your blind spots and use your signals when you change lanes so you don’t turn anyone else into a road rager. Checking all the views around your vehicle and being a considerate driver should help with preventing road rage.

  • If it’s rush hour or you find yourself in a traffic jam due to an accident, listen to music and just come to terms with the fact that you’re going to run late. It’s okay. No need to be inconsiderate to drivers around you by making obscene gestures at people trying to merge into your lane.

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What To Do If You Enconter Road Rage

  • Avoid mad motorists, if at all possible. Ain’t nobody got time for that negative energy.

  • Don’t feed the trolls. If you try to speed up to pass an angry driver or prevent them from merging in your lane, it only makes things worse and can put your life in danger! Let them pass and leave plenty of room between you and that grump.

  • If an angry driver gives you the finger or makes another obscene gesture, be a grown up and ignore it. Such gestures have gotten people physically attacked many times. Um, no thanks.

  • Honk that horn only if you really have to for defensive driving purposes… like if a driver is merging into your lane and doesn’t appear to see you. Don’t use your horn if you’re simply annoyed because you’re sitting in traffic. We’re all in the same boat … er, car. Honking your horn is meant to be used to alert other drivers, not to scold them. Take the high road, engage in polite driving.

  • Don’t be afraid to report aggressive drivers to the authorities. You could save a life and prevent road rage from causing a bigger issue.

  • If you see a driver with road rage get into an auto accident, be cautious about approaching the vehicle and driver. Stop a safe distance away from them, then call the police to report the incident. Aggressive drivers can be unpredictable and it’s important to keep yourself safe

  • If an aggressive driver starts following you, don’t go home. Call the police and drive to the nearest police station. You don’t want to become the victim of a road rage attack.

While the holidays are supposed to be a joyous time, sitting in traffic, especially when you're trying to get last minute shopping done, can be anything but. No one likes sitting in traffic when they could be doing literally anything else, but no one likes getting in automobile accidents either. When shopping on Super Saturday, or doing any other holiday shopping this season, know that the mall is going to be busy, and things will likely be moving more slowly than usual. Remain calm, put on some holiday music, and remember that the holidays don’t last forever. Soon your Saturdays will consist of more than just sitting in mall traffic, and you won't be spending your time dealing with accident attorneys, insurance companies, and body shops, since you avoided getting into an aggressive driving car crash. 


Sitting in traffic can be frustrating, but it's important to not let that frustration get the best of you, and result in unsafe aggressive driving behaviors, which can lead to road rage car accidents. If you become the victim of an aggressive driving car accident, talk to an experienced accident lawyer at The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC. Call us at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free legal consultation. 

Michigan Judge Under Hit-and-Run Crash Investigation

Michigan Hit and Run Car Crash Lawyer

A Michigan judge who usually sentences criminals for hit-and-run crimes could possibly be ending up in front of another judge for the very same reason. The Detroit Free Press reported that Roseville District Court Judge Catherine Steenland of the 39th District Court is being investigated for fleeing the scene of an accident.

On the night of September 25, 2017, Judge Steenland allegedly sideswiped another vehicle while she was making a turn. She then left the scene and returned to her home. The car collision allegedly took place on Gratiot between 13 Mile and Masonic. The driver of the other vehicle supposedly followed Judge Steenland to her home and watched her exit her vehicle. The two never spoke to each other. Anonymous sources tell CBS Detroit that police officers later reported to Judge Steenland’s home, and she refused to cooperate with them. The sources also say that Judge Steenland’s vehicle has since been impounded.

Roseville Police Chief James Berline said in a statement that “a complaint was made, and as Judge Steenland is a sitting judge responsible for the City of Roseville, the matter was turned over to the Michigan State Police for investigation. Any comment regarding this matter will have to come from MSP.”

This is not the first legal trouble Judge Steenland has faced. In June of 2008, she pleaded guilty to operating a vehicle while visibly impaired in Ogemaw County. She was charged in the 82nd District Court in West Branch in northern Michigan. She was suspended without pay for 90 days.

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In Michigan, the driver of a vehicle who knows or who has reason to believe that he has been involved in an accident shall immediately stop his or her vehicle at the scene of the accident and shall remain there...or immediately report the accident to the nearest or most convenient police agency or officer. In other words, if there’s a chance you were in an accident, you need to stay on the scene until you are able to talk to the police. There may be exceptions in cases where it would be dangerous for the driver to remain on scene. Fleeing the scene of an accident is generally considered a misdemeanor crime, that carries with it a 90 day prison sentence and/or a $100 fine.

Leaving the scene of an automobile accident isn’t OK for anyone to do. It may seem like an easy way out, but it can just create more problems down the line. What could be a minor car collision that could easily be handled by an exchange of insurance information could become a much bigger legal matter if you decide to flee. By staying at the scene of a car accident and cooperating with first responders and investigators, you may be able to avoid having to call an accident attorney or criminal lawyer because you made a bad decision in the moment.


Hit-and-run accidents can be a legal headache for the person who fled the scene, but can also lead to prolonged pain and suffering for the other victims of the car crash. If you or someone you know has been the victim of a hit-and-run accident, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free legal consultation. 

QLine Has Hits and Misses in First Weeks of Operation

If you have found yourself in downtown Detroit recently, you may have noticed a new addition to the city streets - the QLine. The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC blog wrote about the announcement of the QLine in April of 2016, which has since developed from a concept to a fully operational transportation system.

According to The Detroit News, the QLine began operations on May 12, 2017 and rides were free of charge from opening day through Labor Day weekend. Riders began being charged for fares on September 5, 2017 at 6 AM. Over that 12 week time period, the QLine saw ridership increase from 4,000 to 6,300 rides per day. M-1 rail, the company that developed the QLine, said they were prepared for ridership to drop off slightly once fares were put in place, but they expect to average 5,000 rides per day over the first year. The company hopes to reach an average of 8,000 daily riders over the first 5 years of operation. In addition to increased ridership, the QLine also saw an increased number of ride operators. When the QLine opened they had 17 trained operators. They now have 21 and expect to have 27 by the end of their first year. The number of streetcars also increased, as the QLine now has 5 streetcars operating during peak ride times - Monday-Saturday, 10 AM to 7 PM.

Detroit QLine Car Crash Lawyer

The Detroit Free Press reported that the Qline was able to offer free rides for an extended period of time thanks to support from The Kresge Foundation. Now that fairs have been enacted, riders have several options for how they purchase tickets. A three hour pass costs $1.50, and an all day pass costs $3. People who find themselves traveling throughout Detroit often may want to opt for a monthly or yearly pass, which cost $30 and $285 respectively. Riders can purchase passes through a phone app using a credit or debit card. Alternatively, they can purchase tickets at station kiosks using cash and credit or debit cards.

While the payment options to ride the QLine are easy to use, not everything went smoothly on the first day fares were charged, as several kiosks were out of order, and not all stations had taken down signage saying that rides were free, thereby confusing passengers. Passengers also complained about the wait times, although M-1 rail says that wait times have now have decreased from 19 minutes when the QLine first opened, to just under 17 minutes. The company says they are further aiming to shave wait times down to 15 minutes.

Although passengers may not like it, M-1 Rail is likely relieved to now start charging for rides, as construction of the QLine cost $7 million more than expected, according to Crain's Business Detroit. The final estimated cost of the project is $144 million, while earlier estimates expected the project to cost around $137 million. M-1 raised $187.3 million for the project through private donations from corporations, universities, and hospitals. This money was to be used for not only the construction of the QLine, but also to keep it operating for 10 years, before turning it over to the city for it to operate as a public transportation system. But with an estimated yearly operating cost of $5.5-$6 million, this money will fall short of the 10 year mark. M-1 says in order to raise more money, they will solicit more corporate donors as well as government aid, in addition to selling more advertising, and possibly reselling the naming rights.

Detroit QLine Accident Lawyer

In the meantime, M-1 is continuously working on ways to improve riders experiences on the QLine. In order to shorten wait times, the QLine no longer stops at every station. Rather, it only stops if a passenger signals that they want to get off, or if there are passengers waiting to get on. Also helping to shorten wait times is increased battery power, reducing the amount of time cars need to stop to have their battery charged. M-1 is also working with MDOT to improve traffic signaling at large intersections, and police are issuing more tickets and towing cars in order to keep the QLine track free of obstructions. From a technology standpoint, M-1 is working on further developing the QLine app to let riders know when it is approaching, and they are installing electric maps at stations that show points of interest in the city, in relation to their location from that stop. M-1 also plans on adding directional signage to each station that helps riders find their way to downtown.

The QLine runs along Woodward Ave from New Center to Downtown, passing through Wayne State University, Midtown, and Foxtown. The QLine operates Monday-Thursday 6 AM to 11 PM, Friday 6 AM to 12 AM, Saturday 8 AM to 12 AM, and Sunday 8 AM to 8 PM. The QLine runs extended hours for special events such as concerts and home games at Comerica Park, Ford Field, and the new Little Caesars Arena. 

Systems like the QLine are a great transportation option for cities like Detroit, and an effective alternative to drunk driving. After all, the QLine is cheaper than taking an Uber or a Lyft and still helps people avoid the risk of getting into drunk driving accidents. Having a public transportation system also clears up traffic congestion, which in turn keeps drivers from exhibiting road rage that causes car accidents. However the QLine does add yet another obstacle that drivers must pay attention to on busy city streets. It's easy to get into a motor vehicle accident when a driver is taking a right turn at an intersection and doesn't see the QLine streetcar coming up to the light in the lane the driver needs to cross. 

While it may take Detroit drivers some time to get used to sharing the road with this new public transportation system, the long term benefits of the QLine such as preventing drunk driving car crashes and aggressive driving car accidents, make it worth putting up with a little early on confusion. 


Public transportation systems can cut down on the amount of traffic and therefore the number of road rage car accidents in busy cities and on the number of drunk driving car accidents.  However they can also add confusion and distraction to already busy streets, resulting in distracted driving car crashes. If you have been involved in any type of motor vehicle accident, including one involving public transportation, contact The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM to speak with an attorney experienced in handling these types of cases.

Driving Road Rage Killing In Ada, Michigan

Road rage is once again to blame for claiming another victim in Ada, Michigan. In October 2016, ex-boxer Christian Hilman, 19, was driving his dirt bike home in front of General Motors retiree William McFarlan, 64, when McFarlan began honking his horn and flashing his lights at Hilman. Finally, Hilman had enough of McFarlan driving behind him and turned into a church parking lot where McFarlan decided to follow him. It is said the two engaged in a heated argument before McFarlan placed his hands on Hilman's neck and the two began to fight. Eyewitnesses say that the fight resulted in “McFarlan collapsing by his pickup truck and Hilman continuing to kick him.” After police were called, Hilman was arrested and McFarlan was rushed to the hospital for treatment of his injuries, including fractured ribs and a fractured skull. Unfortunately, nearly five weeks after the assault, McFarlan passed away due to the severity of his injuries.

Medical malpractice

At first, Hilman would have only faced 10 years in prison with an assault charge, but now in light of McFarlan’s death, Hilman has been charged with murder in the second degree and is facing up to 100 years in prison. “I think just because someone gets angry in a road rage incident, it doesn’t justify assaulting and killing a man,'' said Blair Lachman, Kent County Assistant Prosecutor. However, Michael Bartish, a defense attorney, argues that, “Whatever happened, Mr. McFarlan [followed] Christian into that parking lot...There is no reason for that vehicle to have followed him into that parking lot unless the intent was for a fight.’’ Bartish feels that, Hilman a voluntary manslaughter charge would be more appropriate thatn a second degree murder charge, since the crime occurred in the heat of passion.

Tips To Handle Road Rage

Unfortunately, road rage is starting to become a common behavior on American roadways, due to the increase in the number of motorists on the road, an uptick in aggressive driving maneuvers, and personal factors affecting individual motorists. The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC does not condone road rage or aggressive driving behaviors. Neither does DMV.org, who provided the following tips for those drivers who find themselves in driving situations in which they become angry at another driver or another driver engages in aggressive driving behavior towards them.

Detroit Road Rage Car Crash Lawyer
  • Maintain your space. This tip does not only refer to keeping enough brake space between cars, but for drivers to do what they need to in order to distance themselves from stressful drivign situations and to remain calm behind the wheel. Playing calming music, a funny podcast, or simply planning ahead for their commute, can prevent drivers from becoming angry.

  • Avoid making eye contact. If the angry driver cannot make eye contact, they will hopefully fume for a moment and continue on their way.

  • Keep your hands on the wheel. Keeping hands busy at 10-and-2 and refraining from making obscene gestures can keep motorists from fanning the flames of anger from other drivers.

  • Show remorse. If a wrong was committed, be the bigger person and correct it by mouthing sorry, waving to the other driver to acknowledge the wrong, or moving out of their way so they can pass.

  • If all else fails - call the police. There may come a time when none of the above tips will help avoid an aggressive driving accident, and the agitated driver may proceed to commit bodily harm to a fellow motorist. In this case, if possible, drivers who find themselves in this situation should pull over and call the police.

Drivers who find themselves engaging in aggressive driving behaviors and have tried bullying someone off the road should remember that acting on violent urges, like what happened between Hilman and McFarlan, can lead to serious consequences. If police catch a driver in the act they could be fined, possibly face prison or jail time, not mention, the aggressive drive will will have to live with a severe assault or a road rage fatality on their conscience.


The altercation between McFarlan and Hilman should serve as a cautionary tale to those who feel they need to teach an aggressive driver a lesson. It is best that the proper authorities handle any road rage incidents, in order to prevent escalating a potential aggressive driving situation. Have you or a loved one been a victim of a road rage car accident? Contact The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free legal consultation. We know going through the legal process can be scary, but our firm is here to help victims of car accidents every step of the way. 

Summer Construction Heats Up at Detroit Metropolitan Airport

It is almost the official start of Summer, and in Michigan, the hot and sunny weather would not be complete without a daily dosage of road construction. The harsh winter climate in the mitten state destroys pavement, forcing the state to hire construction workers to repair damage during the three months of the year when the weather is most tame. The latest local construction project could leave those looking to travel to the Detroit Metropolitan Airport needing some extra time to make sure they aren’t stuck in a sea of orange cones when they should be boarding a plane.

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Detroit Metro Airport is the only major hub for air transportation for much of southeast Michigan and its surrounding areas. Construction has already begun on Lucas Drive, which gives drivers access to rental car parking lots close to the airport. Additionally, construction began June 12, 2017 on Rogell Drive, which connects I-94 to the northern area of the airport campus, as mentioned by the Detroit Free Press. When drivers exit I-94 onto Merriman Road, it turns into Rogell Drive near the airport. And with, Wayne County Authority Officials saying that 75% of people visiting the airport arrive via Merriman Road from I-94, this latest construction development becomes a road bump for the majority of visitors to the airport this Summer.

Construction improvements to these areas include the creation of “new overhead signs that are easier to understand and will improve wayfinding to the terminals,” Kelly Ferencz, Airport Authority Deputy Director of Facilities Design and Construction, said in a news release. “We’re also reconstructing the entrance of our parking structure near the North Terminal, the Big Blue Deck.” Hopefully, these developments will help modernize the airport roads and keep travel safe for drivers.

While most of the construction is expected to finish before Thanksgiving in November 2017, Summer travels to the airport will definitely require some planning ahead. The Airport Authority recommends the following tips for those driving to the airport:

Detroit Metropolitan Airport Construction Travel Tips

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  • Arrive early and allow extra time to navigate through the campus.
  • Utilize cell phone waiting lots and short-term parking to reduce congestion.
  • Use Middlebelt Road to access the rental car facilities.
  • Beginning on July 5th, there will be lane closures on Rogell Drive, which will cause “Arrive 275” to be put into effect. This means that drivers should use I-275’s Eureka Road exit to reach the McNamara Terminal of the airport.

Drivers should always be cautious around construction, as reduced speeds and increased congestion alter normal traffic patterns. Watching for road signs and being mindful of construction cones and barriers can help drivers avoid becoming involved in a car accident. In addition, paying attention to construction updates throughout the Summer can help drivers plan ahead for extra travel time. It is also important that travelers to the airport allot extra travel time because the stress of making flights on time combined with construction caused congested traffic, is a formula for creating road rage. By leaving for the airport an hour earlier than planned, jetsetters may be able to avoid an aggressive driving car crash. The last thing someone wants, is to be stuck in construction around Detroit Metro Airport while their flight to Hawaii takes off in the skies above them.


Construction changes normal traffic patterns, forcing drivers to slow down, making commutes longer, and bringing out road rage in aggressive drivers. Construction sites themselves are also dangerous and contain elements that may cause injuries if drivers are not paying attention to construction signage. If you or someone you know has been involved in a traffic accident related to road construction, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation. 

Injuries and Fatalities Attributed To Road Rage Increase

From January 2014 to March 2017 a steady increase in road rage incidents, in Michigan and around the country, has been noticed by many road safety organizations. These incidents have been attributed to aggressive drivers escalating their behaviors to involve violence in their upset over various road annoyances. 

The Difference Between Road Rage and Aggressive Driving

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) states that road rage is when a driver “commits moving traffic offenses so as to endanger other persons or property; an assault with a motor vehicle or other dangerous weapon by the operator or passenger of one motor vehicle on the operator or passenger of another motor vehicle.” Aggressive driving on the other hand, is a traffic offense involving rude gestures, screaming, tailgating, cutting off traffic, and other violent actions.

So, while traffic congestion bothers every driver on the road, some people take offense to this and unnecessarily tailgate the car in front of them, honk, or curse, as if it will change the traffic pattern. These behaviors are examples of aggressive driving. Sometimes however, they take their actions to the next level by trying to injure others on the road. This response is an act of road rage. 

Michigan Road Rage Car Crash Lawyer

The Psychology Behind Road Rage Statistics

Aggressive drivers are more likely to become hostile during traffic jams, when they are running late, and during road closures or construction. Most of the time aggressive driving occurs due to some drivers having stress in other areas of their life and they take it out of the traffic. In fact, 66% of traffic fatalities are attributed to aggressive driving. Rather than just yelling or cursing however, some aggressive drivers venture into road rage territory by assaulting innocent people on the road way with their vehicle or by introducing another type of weapon into their rage.

Source: GIPHY, Fox's  Lethal Weapon

Source: GIPHY, Fox's Lethal Weapon

In Detroit alone, The Trace reports there have been 14 cases of gun violence due to road rage. Add that with the American Safety Council (ASC) statistical evidence highlighting male drivers under the age of 19 being more likely to engage in road rage and the NHTSA's survey that found 37% of road rage incidents involve a firearm, Detroit finds itself in an alarming situation. Even more troublesome is the fact that in over a seven year period, 12,000 injuries and 218 lives were lost due to road rage. 2% of drivers have even admitted to trying to run an aggressor off the road!

Some psychiatrists attribute road rage incidents involving extreme violence to Intermittent Explosive Disorder (IED). The disorder is believed to come into play in our society due to the common practice of wearing a “false face” like in internet settings where anonymity serves as a barrier. In a similar way, a car acts as a safety mechanism or barrier for those dealing with road rage and leads them to believe that there are no repercussions for their actions.

How To Decrease Road Rage

Source: GIPHY,  The   Fast and the Furious

Source: GIPHY, The Fast and the Furious

The NHTSA along with the ASC says that it’s best for drivers to avoid participating in behaviors that encourage aggressive drivers to turn their attention onto them. Actions such as driving while distracted, turning on high beam lights, not checking blind spots, or not signaling turns and lane changes are all behaviors that incite rage. The NHTSA and ASC are warning drivers to take notice of their behavior in order to keep conflict down while on the road, no matter who is at fault. The ASC also recommends drivers to avoid making eye contact and to refrain from reacting and/or retaliating to an aggressive driver's actions, in order to neutralize a hostile situation.

Following the rules of the road should keep drivers safe and should keep other drivers from being annoyed by your road behavior. However, there are drivers out there who are easily annoyed when other motorists who are following the speed limit aren't going fast enough for them, or drivers who honk if the car in front of them doesn't move quickly enough after a light change. There may never be a way to avoid such situations. Hopefully however, following these tips may be enough to help some motorists avoid getting into a road rage incident.


Aggressive driving and road rage are serious problems in larger cities like Detroit where commuters can be stuck in rush hour traffic for hours on end. With so much congestion on the road, motorists can easily lose their calm and begin to drive aggressively, triggering negative reactions and responses from other drivers, and potentially causing car accidents. If you or somebody you know have been a victim of road rage, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC. Our firm can help those injured in an aggressive driving car crash get the help they deserve. Call us today, at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation.