Work Zone Driving Safety

Construction season is in full blossom this Spring, just in time for the launch of the annual National Work Zone Awareness Week. This year, National Work Zone Awareness Week will take place from April 9-13. It couldn’t have come at a better time as we all know that construction season brings some of the busiest and most dangerous times of the year for construction crews, especially on the treacherous Michigan roads This year’s theme for National Work Zone Awareness Week is, “Everybody’s Responsibility,” because, well, it’s everybody’s responsibility to be looking out for the construction crews, while driving their daily commutes.

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In 2015, The National Work Zone Safety Information Clearinghouse reported that 34,506 people were injured in work zones. The reason for the high number of construction car accident injuries could be due to the fact that sometimes, work zones seem to appear out of nowhere, and drivers can’t stop or slow down in time to avoid a car crash. Construction areas can be set up overnight and therefore may be unexpected, and can cause  unpredictable breaks in traffic flow. While everyone knows to expect construction come springtime and can look up where construction will be taking place in their towns so that they can try to avoid those routes, there are times that drivers may find themselves in construction zones anyway. For those occasions and in case some morning commutes can’t avoid driving through work zones, the Indiana Department of Transportation suggests the follows tips to navigate safely through work zones:  

How to Safely Drive Through Work Zones

  • Take extra care to pay attention and expect the unexpected. Work Zone configurations can change without notice.

  • Don’t text or talk on the phone and avoid taking your hands off the wheel. Distracted driving has become a crisis on all roadways. Driver inattention is a leading cause of all highway crashes,

  • Watch for speed limit reductions, narrowing lanes, changing traffic patterns, and – most importantly – highway workers.

  • Respect the posted speed limits and safely merge as soon as safely possible as this will allow traffic to flow smoothly. Keep in mind, driving 45 MPH instead of 55 MPH through a 5 mile work zone will only add 1.2 minutes to your trip. Speeding and aggressive driving is a major cause of work zone crashes.

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  • Keep a safe distance on all sides of your vehicles and maintain a safe following distance. Rear-end collisions are the most common type of work zone crash.
  • Respect the flaggers and obey their guidance. Be patient when driving through work sites with flagger control.

  • Pay attention to the construction signing. Those signs are carefully selected to give drivers accurate information and important warnings.

  • Expect delays and allow extra travel time to travel through work zones.

  • Select alternate routes if possible to avoid the work zone completely.

  • Be patient and stay calm. Remember that the construction crews are working to make the road better for you!

Workzonesafety.org reported that in 2016, there were a total of 683 fatal car crashes that resulted in 765 fatalities. Construction crews alone had 143 fatalities in that year. Not all of these tips can prevent fatalities from construction site car crashes but they do help l bring  awareness to the issue of work zone safety. This construction safety awareness combines with a list of all of the Michigan routes, Michigan construction sites, and Michigan construction zones that will be worked on in the 2018 year, posted by the State of Michigan, should help drivers take a careful and informed step toward preventing construction car accidents this spring and summer.


Construction workers risk their lives daily so that citizens can have sturdy infrastructure. Therefore, it’s our duty to drive as carefully around work zones as possible, to avoid car accidents and to avoid injuring construction workers. If you or anyone you know has been injured in a car accident of any kind, including a construction zone car crash, call The Michigan Law Firm, PC at 844.4MI.FIRM. Our experienced accident attorneys give free consultations to victims of car crashes.

Michigan Leads Development of Smart Roadways

Michigan is looking to lead the nation in developing smart road technology that will allow intersection signals and construction zones to alert next generation vehicles about upcoming red lights, lane closures, and traffic areas ahead. According to The Detroit News, General Motors and Macomb County, Michigan have partnered up to begin testing smart road safety features that can tell future cars to begin braking when traffic lights are about to turn red. Michigan has also begun testing 'connected construction zones' on Interstate 75 in Oakland County that can alert cars with 'vehicle-infrastructure-capability' about upcoming lane closures. Vehicle-infrastructure-capability allows vehicles to communicate with roadways, construction zones and traffic signals through smart technology.

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These 'connected construction zones' operate by advanced-tech roadside bar codes that are able to communicate information from construction zones to oncoming vehicles. These smart traffic signal systems can even tell the difference between construction workers from traffic barrels for the safety of both the worker and driver as well. Reportedly, these roadside bar codes are intended to be the system that will navigate autonomous vehicles in the future. Michigan has already established 100 miles of connected roadways and plans to expand to 350 miles in the future. Automakers and auto suppliers alike in Southeast Michigan have already begun planning for this transition by testing autonomous vehicle technology on Michigan roadways.

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Citizens of Michigan who are interested in knowing what these road signals look like, should look out for bar codes signs with black and white 2D codes that have been implemented on I-75 in Oakland County. These signs appear to be QR codes that can be scanned by smartphones, however, they can only be read by test cars with vehicle-infrastructure intuition. 3M Company provided these signs for Michigan, and Tammy Meehan, global portfolio manager for 3M Connected Roads, explains that these signs contain pinpoint GPS navigation, can alert vehicles of upcoming construction zones, and can estimate the time it takes to drive through work zones. These smart traffic signal systems can even tell the difference between construction workers from traffic barrels for the safety of both the worker and driver as well. 

Outside the GM Tech Center in Warren, advanced technology has been implemented into traffic lights by Macomb County on Mound Road between 12 Mile Road and 13 Mile Road. These lights are able communicate with Cadillac CTS test sedans that possess vehicle-infrastructure capability. The Detroit News reports that the smart traffic signals and sensors calculate the driver’s speed and the time in which the traffic signal will turn red, to determine if the driver needs to begin braking. In such a case, a yellow light glows on the driver’s infotainment screen and their seat begins vibrating. This is intended to prevent the driver from running the red light or crashing into another vehicle.  The smart traffic signals work within a 1,000-foot radius.

Mark Hackel, Macomb County Executive, stated that for the past five years Macomb's infrastructure department has been installing advanced sensors and cameras to develop smart highways. Hackel explains that the partnership with GM, in addition to the $13.5 million-dollar creation of the Communications and Technology Center (COMTEC) that opened in Mount Clemens in 2013, have been a part of the County’s ongoing infrastructure investments. COMTEC has allowed for the development of Michigan traffic-monitoring, weather-mapping, road-department cameras, and a video wall with 40 monitors.

Kirk Steudle, Director of the Michigan Department of Transportation, stated that Michigan continues to partner with automakers and suppliers for the research and development of autonomous vehicles and smart technology. Kirk claims that advanced vehicle-infrastructure communication could reduce 80% of car accident fatalities.

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While Michigan making great headway, it is not alone in its efforts to develop smart roadways. Other states, including Ohio, have begun testing and implementing connected roadways as well. Ohio has decided to invest $15 million into developing the U.S. 33 Smart Mobility Corridor using advanced fiber-optic cables and wireless sensors for connected roadway and autonomous vehicle testing. Ohio plans to expand connected roadways to I-270 and I-90 as well.

The smart technology innovation that Michiganders are experiencing before them will transform the way we mobilize, by making transportation far more efficient and safer. The ability for autonomous vehicles and connected highways to communicate may greatly reduce car accident fatalities in the future. Yet, it will still be some time before Michigan citizens are able to experience this transformation. In the meanwhile, The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC will continue to update blog readers on the development of smart roadway technology and its effects on drivers in Michigan and across the country.


Whether you've been involved in an auto accident with with a driverless car or were struck by a negligent driver, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM. for a free consultation. Our firm assists victims of car accidents in recouping any benefits they may be entitled to under Michigan law.

Birmingham, Michigan's Recent City Updates

The City of Birmingham, Michigan is effecting safety improvements, fixing roads, and making parking easier for everyone who spends time in this beautiful city. Read further to check out the latest local news developments.

Internet Purchase Exchange Zone

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The Birmingham Police Department has set up an internet purchase exchange location for buyers and sellers using websites such as Craigslist to buy and sell items. The zone is in the parking lot on the south side of City Hall, located at 151 Martin Street, with a sign posted in the designated area. 

Though residents are encouraged to make exchanges during daylight hours, the exchange zone is well-lit if it is necessary to meet after dark. The lot is also under video surveillance at all times. The internet purchase exchange location was established to minimize potential fraud and robberies that can be associated with these types of transactions. 

After-Hours Drop Box

A drop box behind City Hall is currently accepting parking tickets, absentee ballots, property tax paperwork, water bills, and other city documents, for those looking to take care of business after hours or during holidays. The green box is located in the parking lot on the south side of the building.

Local Construction Projects

Three local streets are being reconstructed this summer.

  • Oak Street, from Glenhurst Drive to Chesterfield Avenue. This street is the student drop-off area for drivers of children attending Quarton Elementary School. The street will be narrowed to allow sufficient space for the construction of a separate two-lane drop-off area. The work is scheduled to be finished before school starts in the fall. 
  • Poppleton Avenue, from Knox Avenue to Maple Road. This road is the entrance to the Kroger shopping center parking lot, so it will be kept open while under construction. The work will be done in phases to allow continued access to businesses. Residents living north of this construction area will be encouraged to use a different entrance into the subdivision for the five weeks the construction is expected to take place. 
  • Lawndale Ave, from Oakland Avenue to Woodward Avenue. This one-way section of road will be reconstructed to add extra green space to the traffic island in between Lawndale Avenue and Woodward Avenue, making the road 4 feet narrower than it currently is.
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Other local streets will be resurfaced with new asphalt during September and October. Those streets are:

  • Ashford Lane-South off of Quarton Road.
  • Millrace Court-South off of Lakeside Drive.
  • Hidden Ravines Drive, Trail, and Court-West off of Southfield Road. 

In addition to road construction projects, several sidewalk concrete repair projects are currently underway throughout Birmingham. All sidewalk repairs in the area north of Maple Road, between the Rouge River and Adams Road, are scheduled to be fixed, along with repairs on the northeast corner of the Central Business District.  

Traffic Control Technology at Parking Structures

The City of Birmingham installed new traffic control equipment earlier this year to make parking more reliable at all of the City's parking structures. Drivers must use a credit/debit card or IN card (a card that can be loaded with different amounts of money) to pay for parking. The system does not accept cash or require tickets, helping to prevent a backup at exits where drivers that stop to look for their tickets may hold up traffic. 

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IN cards can be purchased at the SP+ Parking Office at the Chester Street Parking Structure or at the Treasurer's Office in City Hall. They cost $10, and can then be loaded with $25, $50, $100, or $200. IN cards can also be purchased with a zero-dollar balance, for drivers parking under two hours. The parking office at 180 Chester can reload the card if the balance is running low. 

Other new technology that has recently been installed at local parking structures is a parking widget on the City website. Visitors can check the number of available spaces at each parking structure by visiting www.bhamgov.org or by using the mobile-enabled feature on their smart phones to click on the green and white parking logo at the top right corner of the screen. Users are also able to review maps of the parking location and get directions to them. 

Additional improvements coming soon include new signs outside each parking structure that will display in real time  the number of spaces still available. Drivers do not even have to be in Birmingham to access parking information with the latest technology for the parking structures. 

With so much going on around Birmingham, it is important to stay safe and be aware of one’s surroundings, to help prevent accidents from happening. The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC cares about the local community, and helps keep residents informed so injuries don’t occur. 


Accidents can happen anytime, anywhere. Staying informed about improvements and construction in the community may prevent injuries. If you or someone you know has been injured in a Birmingham, Michigan automobile accident, contact The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation. 

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.