Besides Alaska, Michigan is part of a group of the most northern states in the US. Michigan is quite long; north to south and its upper peninsula offers some of the wildest country in the US. It also has the longest freshwater coastline of any political subdivision in the world and borders 4 of the 5 Great Lakes as well as Lake St. Clair. It has one of the largest recreational boating populations in the US. Car safety in the state is largely affected by where you live in the state; urban vs. rural and north vs. south.
Michigan uses the term the Michigan State Trunkline Highway System to refer to all the highways under the jurisdiction of the Michigan Department of Transportation. MDOT is responsible for the Interstate, US State and Michigan State highways throughout Michigan.
However, unlike many states, Michigan does not have an exclusion rule for duplicating highway numbers. So there is both I-75 and M-75 within the state as well as a number of other duplicated highway numbers. Ensuring you are driving on the right roadway can be assured by looking at the signage that designates a difference between the three systems.
I-75 runs the entire north-south length of the Lower Peninsula, across the Mackinac Bridge and across the Upper Peninsula, mainly on the east side of the state from Toledo to Detroit to Sault Ste Marie. There are two Interstates that run out of Detroit to Chicago (I-94) and the other to Grand Rapids on the shore of Lake Michigan (I-96).
Roadways in Michigan have over 60% rated as in “good” condition and the state is actively working to get over 90% in at least “fair” condition by 2020.
North South Divide
Michigan is largely seen as two separate areas, including the lower southern portion of the state including most of the Lower Peninsula and the Upper Peninsula and the very northern portion of the Lower Peninsula. These two distinct areas have different climates. The southern portion of the state generally has hot summers and cold winters, whereas the northern portion of the state has shorter mild summers and long harsh winters.
Driving throughout Michigan with safety in mind, should always consider some safety gear for winter months. With large snowfalls typical in the north and possible in the south, it is advised to drive with a break-down kit for cold weather. It should include flares, blankets, heating candles and survival rations. As one the 10th most populous state in the union, you might be lulled into complacency, especially in the southern portion of the state. However, as the 11th largest state, it still has large tracts of land especially in the northern half of the state that can seem uninhabited.
No Fault & Expensive
As the most expensive state to get car insurance, the state’s no fault system that includes medical expenses and lost wage coverages is mostly to blame. A high crime rate and very poor road conditions in Detroit may also be partly to blame.
Insurance in the state is mandatory although with such high prices of insurance it also has the 7th highest number of uninsured motorists in the country at 19% of all drivers in the state. This high percentage also helps drive insurance rates up for the other 80% of drivers with insurance. This means that you have a 1 in 5 chance of being involved with an uninsured driver if you are involved in an accident.
Michigan Tough on OWI
OWI, OWVI and OWPD are all chargeable offences in the state of Michigan and they all deal with driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. With one of the most inclusive legal systems dealing with drug and alcohol influences, you can be charged if drunk driving, if you are visibly drunk during a field sobriety test, if caught with even trace amounts of illegal narcotics found in your system whether at the field test or in the hospital and for medical prescriptions that impair your driving.
There are no loopholes in this system in order to “slip through the cracks.” The system was specifically designed so that impaired drivers, however impaired are caught and taken off the roads in Michigan.
Penalties are also one of the most extensive of any state, if not exactly the harshest. However if you are charged with any of these offenses you will face immediate license suspension, possible jail time, vehicle immobilization, drug or alcohol abuse education courses, community service, reinstatement fees for your license, fines for the charge and residual fines if you are convicted that you must pay for 2 years after conviction on an annual basis as well as demerit points. Implied consent and mandatory suspensions for refusing testing make it nigh impossible to get away with impaired driving in Michigan. In other words, avoid it and just do not do it.
If you get 12 or more demerit points within a 2 year period for moving violations on a scale from 2 to 6 points in Michigan you will be subject to a Driver Assessment Reexamination hearing. At this hearing your future driving privileges will be determined with possible driver’s education courses made mandatory, license restrictions, license suspension or license revocation.
Did You Know That…
1. Detroit is the Car Capital of the World.
2. It is a No Fault, comparative fault 50 percent bar rule state.
3. Michigan has the largest number of boat registrations in the US.
4. The I-75 runs 400 miles through Michigan, from north to south.
5. There are no more wolverines in Michigan.
6. You can be charged for being ‘visibly under the influence’.
7. Yooper refers to residents of the Upper Peninsula.
8. It was originally a colony of France.
9. The no fault system pays for lost wages for medical recovery.
10. Insurance coverage is the most expensive of all 50 states in the US.