Originally posted on January 17, 2022.

There is nothing more frustrating than being stuck in a traffic jam. The Texas A&M Transportation Institute/INRIX Urban Mobility Report shows that the average commuter in Detroit endured 35 hours of traffic congestion in 2021 – nearly a day and a half sitting in traffic.

When the highways and roads are busiest, vehicle accidents occur more frequently.

To avoid getting into an accident, read on to learn more about the worst traffic times and locations in Detroit, and how you can manage your commute during these congested periods.

Contact one of our Detroit car accident lawyers if you’ve been injured in a car accident to ensure you receive a fair settlement.

When is the Worst Traffic Congestion in Detroit?

Unsurprisingly, the peak traffic times nationwide are from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. in the mornings and 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the evenings, which corresponds with when most commuters are traveling to and from work.

In Detroit, between 5-6% of an entire day’s worth of traffic will pass through each hour between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m., although there is sharp increase in traffic starting as early as 4 a.m. Traffic hits its highest morning volume around 7 a.m.

Roughly 6-7% of all daily traffic will pass through each hour between 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., peaking around 4 p.m. to 5 p.m., and gradually decreasing between 6 p.m. and 10 p.m.

Where is the Worst Traffic Congestion in Detroit?

Some of the heaviest traffic in Detroit occurs on three major expressways that connect nearby suburbs to Detroit for commuter traffic:

  • North Interstate 75: This road begins in the upper peninsula, crosses the Mackinac Bridge, and continues into Ohio.
  • East Interstate 94: This road runs east-west through Ypsilanti, Ann Arbor, and Port Huron. A major factor in heavy traffic within Detroit is the advanced age and poor condition of the interchange between I-94 and the Lodge Freeway.
  • East I-696: This bypass route branches off from I-96 at the dangerously complicated I-96/I-696/I-272/M-5 interchange (the largest freeway interchange in the world) and travels east through Southfield, Royal Oak, and Warren—crossing through another famously complicated interchange known locally as “the Mixing Bowl,” before merging into I-94.

Cost of Congestion in Detroit

Detroit’s annual congestion cost in 2020 was $2,082 million. Detroit commuters spent up to $710 each on congestion in 2020, since they sat in traffic for a collective 92,996 hours.

Truck drivers in Detroit had to wait in traffic for 4,371 hours in 2020, resulting in a collective $236 million in costs and 8,586 thousand gallons of fuel wasted.

In addition, because of the traffic congestion around Detroit, an additional 351,116 tons of excess CO₂ were added to the air. Pre-COVID, in 2019, it was nearly double that at 602,401 tons.

How Do You Avoid the Worst Traffic Times?

Avoid using the major highways into Detroit if possible. Michigan’s Department of Transportation has a live map of all traffic, including incidents and lane closures. If it is impossible to avoid traffic, follow these steps to ensure a safe and smooth ride.

Start your commute early

Plan your day so you drive before or after rush hour. Avoid these times to reduce the chances of a collision during rush hour. If possible, you can try to leave for your commute earlier in the morning and before the workday ends.

Map out your routes

You should always have a backup route in case of an accident or unusually heavy traffic because of a holiday or sports event. It may take longer to commute, but there will be more traffic on your primary route, so you will not arrive later than you would have otherwise.

Avoid looking at accidents when driving

The sight of an accident while in traffic might make you curious enough to slow down and take a closer look. This is a behavior known as rubbernecking, categorized as distracted driving. It’s important to pay even closer attention to what’s going on around you in times like this to avoid getting into an accident yourself.

Drive safely

If you are late for an appointment, remember that most other drivers are also likely to be late for work or other important activities. Stay calm, and you and everyone else will arrive safely at their destinations.

Defensive driving courses can teach you to watch for clues about what other drivers are about to do. As you drive home from work, you will be more likely to stay safe if you’re trained to react quickly to aggressive driving and spot dangerous driving behaviors.

Our Detroit Car Accident Lawyers Can Help You

When planning your commute in Detroit, keep track of the worst traffic times and do your best to schedule your travel around them.

If you are injured in an accident in Detroit, you can rely on Fieger Law’s Detroit auto accident lawyers to handle your case. We serve clients nationwide, so you can count on our knowledge and experience no matter where you are. Get in touch with us today to review your case and work on your behalf to improve your quality of life.