Drivers Should Be Prepared for Heavy Thanksgiving Traffic

Thanksgiving is here, and for many of us, that means overeating, watching football, and leftover turkey sandwiches for weeks. It also means that many of us will be piling in the car and hitting the highway in order to do so. Thanksgiving, and the days surrounding it, are some of the busiest travel days of the year, with millions of Americans traveling to see loved ones.

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Thanksgiving weekend is generally considered to include Wednesday evening, and all day Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, with some resources including Tuesday afternoon as well. According to the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT), the number of long distance trips during this time period increases by 54% as compared to the average number of long distance trips the rest of the year. While TV news reports are often focused on long airport security lines and flight delays, USDOT reports that 91% of long distance holiday travel is by vehicle. They also note that the average long distance Thanksgiving trip is 214 miles, with about half of all travelers completing their trip within the same day, and not spending any nights away. Over Thanksgiving weekend, 53% of long distance trips are to visit friends and family, whereas this only accounts for about 24% of long distance trips during the rest of the year.

According to Travel and Leisure, an estimated 41,900,000 people piled into their cars over Thanksgiving weekend in 2015. With that many people on the road, traffic is going to bad. The Wednesday before Thanksgiving and the Saturday after are when the roads are at their worst, but roads are more congested than usual for the whole weekend. Time reports that roads start seeing an increase in traffic at about 1:00 PM on Tuesday, with gridlock setting in from 4:00 PM to 8:00 PM. Heavy traffic returns on Wednesday morning at around 11:00 AM, and stays that way all day, with 2:00 PM to 7:00 PM being the worst of it. When coming home after the holiday, traffic is up to 60% worse on Saturday than it is on Sunday. If you’re able to complete your trip in one day, Thursday is the day to do it. Traffic on Thanksgiving day mimics weekend traffic patterns, meaning if you leave in the morning or evening (avoiding mid-day) you shouldn’t see too much slow down.

Detroiters should be warned that they likely won’t be able to avoid traffic this Thanksgiving, as Northbound US 23 and Northbound I-75 Merge in Detroit rank #9 on ABC News’ list of America’s Top 10 Most Congested Roads. They say that “this stretch of road near Flint, Mich., attracts people fleeing to the beautiful northern Michigan forests for turkey and fun. Cabin owners, resort seekers and deer hunters flock north from Detroit, Indiana, Ohio and even Chicago.”

Unsurprisingly, data giant Google has been collecting information via their Maps app about our Thanksgiving travel habits. Google reports that “ham shop”, “pie shop”, and “liquor shop” are the most searched for terms on Maps on Wednesday, as people do last minute cooking or need to pick up a hostess gift. Likely a result of cooking mishaps in years past, “buffet restaurants” are what’s most searched for the most on Thanksgiving day. On Black Friday, Americans are searching for “electronics store”, “outlet mall”, and “Christmas tree farm” the most. In Detroit, however, the most searched for item on Black Friday is “hamburgers”.

So many people traveling over a certain time period unfortunately means that accidents are going to happen. According to the National Safety Council, there were 391 traffic fatalities during the Thanksgiving period in 2016. This accounted for 12.84% of all traffic deaths during November of 2016. That number is up from 301 deaths over the same time period in 2015, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The NHTSA notes that 50% of the people who died in automobile accidents over Thanksgiving in 2015 were not wearing seat belts. National Safety Council has the following tips for how drivers can be safe and prepared when traveling over the holiday.

thanksgiving traffic

 While following these tips can’t guarantee you won’t be in any accidents this Thanksgiving, it could help reduce the likelihood. Heavy traffic doesn’t mean you shouldn’t travel over the holiday, but it does mean you should be prepared and know how it will affect your travel plans. Check traffic and weather before you leave, and know that your route will likely take longer than it does on a normal day. Try and stay calm when you’re stuck in traffic, and know that everyone else is likely just as frustrated as you are. And of course, making good choices like wearing a seat belt and not getting behind the wheel while drunk are behaviors that should be practiced year round.


While Thanksgiving leads to hugely heavy traffic, car collisions happen anytime of year. If you or a loved one have been involved in an automobile accident, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free legal consultation. 
 

I-75 Project Begins in Oakland County Michigan Next Month

If you live or commute in Oakland County and were already sick of the number of orange construction barrels on the roads, you will be in for a big treat come mid-August. The Michigan Department of Transportation announced on July 19th, 2016 that the first project in the rebuilding of I-75 in Oakland County will begin this August. 

The two-year $90.8 million investment, which will stretch from Coolidge Highway to South Boulevard, will include reconstructing pavement, replacing bridges, and modernizing the Square Lake Road interchange. The Square Lake Road project involves replacing the left lane ramps at northbound I-75, and this will continue throughout the winter months. The good news however is that according to MDOT, this project will not impact traffic flow, like most construction projects usually do. 

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“Starting in mid-August, two lanes will be open in each direction of I-75 between Coolidge Highway and Squirrel Road, in order to safely allow crews to construct temporary crossovers. In September, two-way traffic will share the southbound lanes to allow for the reconstruction of northbound I-75, along with bridge replacement at Adams, Square Lake, and Squirrel roads,” MDOT said in a released statement. This roadwork will continue to impact commuters on I-75 and will remain in place until mid-December, when all lanes will be expected to open back up. 

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Oakland County residents aren’t exactly pleased with the upcoming construction in their area. More specifically, residents are upset about the increased noise that will be present due to all of the road work. “The construction is something we know can’t be stopped, and in the long run it’ll be fine. But the noise has tripled in places in my condo I’ve never had it before,” Karen Mellot, a resident of a condo complex located along I-75, told C&G Newspaper. At a meeting held by Oakland County Commissioner Shelley Goodman Taub and MDOT officials, residents caused an uproar, with many shouting at MDOT presenters and others walking out of the room.


As frustrating as ongoing construction may be, drivers are highly discouraged from runing their car right through those orange construction barrels and plowing their way through traffic. By not allowing frustration to turn into road rage drivers can avoid car accidents, crash related injuries, and a meeting with the police. If you or somebody you know has been injured in a car accident caused by aggressive driving, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC. Our attorneys will work alongside you to get you the help you need and deserve. Call us today, at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation. 

Detroit Commuter Challenge

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder has declared the month of May to be Commuter Challenge Month. What is this? Well, as an effort to make the City of Detroit more green and eco-friendly, Governor Rick Snyder has challenged citizens of Detroit to share transportation with other people. Taking the bus, car-pooling, biking, walking, and telecommuting are encouraged in order to reduce Detroit’s carbon footprint.  This effort may also clear up traffic on the roads for single rider cars. 
 
People can sign up on the Commuter Challenge website. Signing up before May 1, 2015 will allow participants to be placed in a drawing for a $50 Amazon gift card. Participants will also be placed into other drawings for prizes such as a Kindle Fire, Visa gift cards, Olive Garden gift cards, a Marriott Hotel stay, and iTunes gift cards, every time they log in a group a green commute.

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The website even provides people with detailed ideas of new forms of transportation. For example, if participants are interested in using the bus, the Commuter Challenge website gives information on the SMART bus system, the Detroit Department of Transportation, and the Detroit People mover, and even add links to their respective websites. Another useful suggestion by the website is pooling. The Commuter Challenge team provides information and websites for two city-wide, organized, pooling groups, MichiVan and SEMGOG’s MiRideshare.  Both of these companies help commuters find others  who are going to the same location and pair them up.
 
The benefit of commuting not only reduces Detroit’s carbon footprint, but it also clears the roads of heavy traffic which in turn creates safer driving conditions. No longer will commuters get stuck in traffic, have to breathe exhaust from cars, or have to worry about getting to work on time. Instead, they can travel in a cheerful mood, get to work on time, and possibly even make new friends with the people  they meet on the bus or in their carpool. And commuters who decide to bike or walk,  can gain a new appreciation for their environment and surroundings.
 
With fewer vehicles on the roads, there will likely be fewer motor vehicle accidents. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were 45,690 car crashes on Michigan roads in 2014. If Detroit’s Commuter Challenge can help reduce even a small fraction of these car and motorcycle accidents, we will have made a positive change.  Less people will be injured and lives may be saved in the process.
 
However, even if all commuters switched to carpools, some car accidents are just inevitable. If you or someone in your family has been injured in a car accident, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC. Our experienced accident lawyers can help get your medical bills paid and can make sure you are fully compensated for all benefits you are entitled to under Michigan law, which in many cases includes pain and suffering compensation. Whether driving alone or in someone else’s car, you have a right to paid medical treatment. Call us today at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation.