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Posted on Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 11:59 a.m.

Crashes plague stretch of M-14 in Ann Arbor Friday morning

By Joseph Tobianski


A tow truck prepares to remove a car from the site of a crash on westbound M-14 at the Main Street exit in Ann Arbor Friday morning. Michigan State Police, who investigated the crash, could not immediately provide information about what happened. A dispatcher with the Washtenaw County Sheriff's Office said there were several crashes on that stretch of the freeway during the rainy morning.

Joe Tobianski |

View M-14crash 120712 in a larger map


A crash on M-14 in Ann Arbor around 9:30 a.m. Friday.

Photo courtesy of Daniel Treharne


AJ Davis

Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 9:32 p.m.

I passed by this crash this morning - I literally caught my self wincing - a horrible accident - and the person who wrote "it's not an accident if it's preventable" perhaps should see the definition of an accident: "an unforeseen and unplanned event or circumstance". Things are often preventable - doesn't mean what happened was planned or seen coming. I doubt very much the person(s) in that vehicle survived. For a moment, stop the accusations and have a little kindness and caring for the people involved. There is plenty of time later for blame, right now, someone's life has dramatically changed because of this accident. Perhaps we could all just take a moment to remember, human beings are involved.


Sat, Dec 8, 2012 : 2:28 p.m.

my drivers ed teacher taught us there are no accidents.You can always find the fault.Even if you have a blow out its your fault for driving on bad tires.Most are caused by going to fast for the conditions,not paying attention or stupidity.Throw in texting or talking on the phone and you have more problems.I have seen a guy shaving with an electric razor and people reading a map or newspaper while driving


Sat, Dec 8, 2012 : 12:11 a.m.

Many so-called "accidents" happen when the driver is not actually in control of the car. Rather, they are under the *illusion* that they are in control of the car. Maintaining the car at speed and between the yellow lines does not mean "being in control" of your automobile. It means travelling at speeds that are within the performance parameters of your car - that includes its ability to stop and turn rapidly if necessary. If you're driving down the freeway in a Chevy Tahoe at 80 mph, and you're 20 feet from the car ahead of you, you are in no way "in control" of your car. It only takes a small error/problem by the driver in front of you to cause an "accident" - which, of course, was anything but. Same applies to driving on days where there's inclement weather.


Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 9:18 p.m.

This has to be the worst stretch if highway I have seen in my life. Cars slowing down, cars merging from dead stop, over pass ice possibilities, posted speed of 65, no left shoulder, and road is on a curve. I am amazed there are not daily accidents. They should close the Barton exit.


Sat, Dec 8, 2012 : 6:16 a.m.

I agree but then you have those neighborhood complain and then nothing gets done. The "rich" Barton folks, those people that have fancy homes off Huron River Dr cannot be bothered to go out the other side of the neighborhood and use the Miller/Maple exits, even though they have Foster Bridge fixed just the way they demanded. Then main st is part of the business loop and the exit to downtown. Actually I think they need to re do the exit even if that means losing that park over there to rework the curve to enter Main St. but oh no! We have to have a park there. Nevermind they want to "revitalize" that entrance into the city with a whole bunch of fancy stuff only to not fix a dangerous situation on M14. The exit entrance onto Barton Dr and the death curve should be eliminated. The entrance from Main onto M-14 would then be the third lane that could be extended up further. The two lanes toward Brighton should remain two lanes (instead of a forced merge) and the 2 lanes from M14 towards Brighton should have to merge onto them, not the other way around. (Like where M14 merges onto 94W, the right lane has to merge left and then that lane lane has to shortly thereafter merge left) as it is you are trying to merge into the passing lane there which is one reason that backs up daily, they can extend the merge area of another lane further out if they do it on the rightside there well before the first overpass.

Ann English

Sat, Dec 8, 2012 : 1:01 a.m.

I don't remember the last time I used the Barton Drive exit, but I use the entrance every week. I never take risks getting into the right lane, and all the oncoming drivers see me. I wonder if Exit #3's nearness to the bridge causes it to ice up; bridges ice up before the rest of a road does. Exit #4, leading to Whitmore Lake Road, seems to be a safer exit to drive on, further away from the bridge.

zip the cat

Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 9:08 p.m.

Lowering the speed limit has zero effect on the way people drive now days. No one does the posted speed limit anymore Average speed on m-14.I-94,us 23 is 80 plus,rain or shine. I went to detroit on M-14 yesterday and was going 70 to 80 mph and still had people tailgating me and passing me like I was standing still.


Sat, Dec 8, 2012 : 12:07 a.m.

There is some truth in this. Here is the link to the article which describes precisely this, and it discusses these roads specifically to boot:


Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 8:03 p.m.

Stop blaming the drivers, geez o petes.... Its always the roads fault. Its not the driver texting/phone. Cant be the drivers cutting people off to get ahead. Surely isnt the unexperienced teenage drivers. Definitly not the over cautious till its dangerous elderly drivers. Oh and not the people with their pets sitting on their laps while driving.......Get where Im going, " Hot Fuzz" Its not an accident if it could have been prevented.


Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 6:35 p.m.

I second Go Navy on the worse interchanges are M14/23 and 275/M14 although much of 275 is just a hair raising knuckle drive, the hardest part of that is merging from M-14 onto 275 M14/23 has a lot of accidents and M14 on either side of the road over the river has most of them, it seems like they happen almost daily during the morning commute and the evening commute is not that much better. I agree people need to SLOW down, use their turn signals and not drive like maniacs but the road/interchange/curves/exits do lend to the overall bad design of the area and likely contribute a lot to accidents. You have people entering from Barton Dr, then you get off on Main St and have the people trying to cross from Huron River Dr. on the other side you try to merge from Main st and then have people exiting onto Barton on the death curve while people are trying to enter from the stop sign at the top of that entrance all while people have been traveling down M14 from the Maple exit going fast around a big curve that does not straighten out until you are at the bridge.


Sat, Dec 8, 2012 : 5:55 a.m.

trucks tend to get in there lanes and stay there, I am sure they are far more nervous about cars than the cars are of the trucks because of all the darting around drivers do between them. Some people tempt fate with 18 wheelers which cannot stop on a dime. (much like people that try to make it across the tracks of an approaching train). Truck drivers are normally better drivers, there jobs depend on it, yes they have a schedule but they are not normally in a hurry to go no where or are always 5 mins late to work. They drive how they drive and cars should respect the laws of momentum and stay a safe distance away and allow them to merge as needed (not that trucks should run shot over cars) just sayin'. My one exception is county snowtrucks, totally irresponsible driving witnessed last year when a salt truck crossed from the right shoulder to the left in a VERY short distance, causing three cars in three lanes (and everyone behind them) to break hard on a slick road, I was in the left lane and the truck BARELY cleared out of my lane, in time for me to pass. I doubt he heard multiple cars and trucks honking or the swearing! Traffic was only going 40 mph or less at the time, I was only in third gear. 275 sucks because so many people pass on the right, I have that happen with a few near misses of people speeding on either side of me and then both want to get in front of me in my lane and no one using a turn signal. I was doing the speed limit and they were both speed weaving. They would never make it on the Autoban.

Kyle Mattson

Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 7:33 p.m.

bunny- I commuted a twelve mile stretch of 275 for nearly 3 years an I swear the stress of that road took at least a year or two off my life. Obviously its has much more traffic on it than M-14 but it also twice has many lanes, which I believe helps with truck traffic. Often while driving M-14 (and 23) it seems that backups are caused by the substantial lane crossing required for all drivers particularly trucks (ie three lanes from M14 between the north and south sections of 23).


Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 6:17 p.m.

Between aggressive driving and distracted drivers I see everyday, driving has become a feared chore.

Kyle Mattson

Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 6:14 p.m.

I drive this section to get into downtown everyday, albeit usually just after the typical rush hour has ended and have yet to decide if the speed increase from 55 to 65 that was made a couple years ago has increased or decreased the safety of the section. Any thoughts? This accident today shown in Joe's photo above looked pretty bad when I drove by and I hope the driver and any passengers are okay as the car looked severely damaged. Also to note this is the same exact spot that an accident occurred on Wednesday and yesterday morning crews had just replaced the damaged guardrail with a brand new one (you can see it behind the tow truck in the photo above).

Larry Baird

Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 7:41 p.m.

As I mentioned above, I believe the increased speed limit is a big factor. The change has resulted in a greater difference in speed between the cars exiting and the cars entering on the shared on/off ramps on both sides of the M-14 bridge over the Huron River. I mostly exit on the west bound M-14 to Main St. ramp , but the few times I entered on the west bound ramp I felt the length of the lane was not long enough given the volume and speed of traffic on the bridge. In many cases, cars will try to speed ahead of the entering cars which makes entering on these shared on/off ramps even more dangerous. Also the steep hill declines and curves leading to the bridge in both directions creates less visability and more speed. For whatever reason (distraction or lack of knowledge of the area) many drivers wait too long to get over and either cut off drivers in the right lane and exit lane or slow to almost a standstill to merge with the exiting traffic. When the traffic statistics become available, I believe we will see a substantial increase in accidents since the speed limit was increased.


Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 6:28 p.m.

It's a really sharp curve and there needs to be better signage letting the motorists know that they need to slow down to safely navigate the turn. And that is all well and good on a dry day but on a day where the roads are slick with moisture like today no amount of signs is going to stop people with bad driving habits from doing stuff like this. If they really want to increase the safety of that on ramp, it should be redesigned so there is not such a sharp turn immediately after exiting M-14

Larry Baird

Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 6:07 p.m.

That's the second one this week at the Main St. exit. The state laws that called for increasing the speed limit on this dangerous stretch of on/off ramps needs to be reevaluated and the speed limit needs to be reduced back to 50 or 55 on this stretch.


Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 5:46 p.m.

I've seen my share of aggressive traffic & accidents on I-95 in the NE corridor, even commuting to Midtown Manhattan for a few years But few interchanges scare me more than the M-14 - M-23 one here outside of Ann Arbor. A close second would be the I-275 interchange off of M-14. I can't believe what people try to get away with. Just totally shocking. Thousands of people driving around like they're the only people on the road, or like they have cow pushers attached to the front of their SUVs. Terrible, terrible driving in this state.


Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 6:45 p.m.

How about US-23 just south of the split where westbound M-14 drivers are trying to cut across several lanes of traffic to get off at Plymouth Rd.? That's a nail biter.


Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 5:49 p.m.

PS this also includes that stretch of road between M-14's Main Street entrance and the US-23 (I mistakenly said "M23") interchange I mentioned above. All those folks who use the Barton Drive entrance as their own personal bypass; those who insist on flying down the left hand lane of the M-14 split-off even though they know of the imminent merge; those who enter off of Barton Drive like it's their god-given right, etc.


Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 5:45 p.m.

Hmm, all pavements offer less friction when they are not dry. The fact that concrete pavement has more friction than black top when it's dry but less when it's wet doesn't help either.


Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 5:35 p.m.

By the grace of God I did not crash the other day as I was entering Eastbound 94 from West bound jackson road. That sharp loop was slick with moisture and as I turned to merge on the highway my rear tires lost traction and I spun out of control and ended up doing a 360 almost going into the ditch there. Fortunately for me there was no oncoming traffic either on 94 or on the on ramp behind me or I would surely have been hit. When the roads get wet it doesn't take much at all to send you out of control on a sharp turn like that one or the one in this article so if your tires are not in tip top shape remember to slow down when there is moisture about. I learned my lesson!

sun runner

Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 8:52 p.m.

Sigh...I mean the Barton Dr. entrance to eastbound M-14.

sun runner

Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 8:47 p.m.

The ramp onto EB I-94 at Jackson and the Barton Drive "come to a complete stop and then GIVE IT EVERYTHING YOU'VE GOT" entrance onto WB M-14 are two of the dumbest freeway ramps I have ever encountered. Total civil engineering fail.


Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 8:06 p.m.

Did you get tip top tires yet? I sure hopes so. If not, thanks for putting the rest of us at risk with your non tip top tires.


Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 6:22 p.m.

that particular ramp does get really slick, also ices easily in the winter with little wind.


Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 5:24 p.m.

People can't drive this area in dry weather what makes us think they can drive it in wet or snowy?


Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 6:36 p.m.

So true, and that stretch of rail just got replaced yesteeday. Go figure.