Crashing and Smashing at 15 Mile and Cavant Drive
I’ve spoken several times at City Council meetings and with Sterling Heights Police regarding all of the accidents that take place just outside my house at 15 Mile and Cavant. Although I keep hearing that there are things which might get done to help, it has been going on for years and there has been little or no relief.
Now it has become personal: someone I know has recently been involved in an injury accident which destroyed his vehicle and has put him onto disability for the at least the next two years.
A few weeks ago, my next-door neighbor was involved in a crash while travelling east on 15 Mile past the 7-11 store at 4191 15 Mile Road. A driver trying to turn left out of the shopping center crossed the two westbound lanes of traffic and the left turn lane at a high rate of speed, broadsiding my neighbor’s F150 pickup. The collision was severe enough to bend the frame of the truck and intrude into the passenger compartment, striking him as he sat in the driver’s seat. He has significant spinal and neck injuries as a result, and now is unable to work at his job as a glass installer.
Crashes near my location are hardly uncommon, and I’ve recently started taking pictures when I’m unable to render assistance. I didn’t get a picture of my neighbor’s collision, but here are a few photos of the wreckage from just some of the accidents that took place over the past few months.
Vehicles involved in collision 28-JAN-2015
The problem is not limited to my corner. The entire area between Hatherly Place and Ryan Road along 15 Mile Road, highlighted in yellow below, is dangerous. Just last evening I was almost involved in a head-on collision myself. At the very least, this stretch of road should have ‘Dangerous Area’ signage.
I am not a civil engineer, but it has been my observation that many of these accidents seem to have one thing in common: drivers attempting to turn left out of the driveways of businesses and the condominium complex onto 15 Mile during periods of heavy traffic. Another prevalent problem comes from people using the left turn lane as a traffic lane. Someone doing just exactly that nearly hit my vehicle last night during the snow storm.
A large number of adults living in my immediate area are new to driving. Many have not had the benefit of driver’s training. The stretch of 15 Mile Road for about a quarter mile east of the intersection with Ryan is heavily congested and home to a significant number of retail businesses and restaurants. Unfortunately these folks lack the experience behind the wheel to negotiate a left turn onto 15 Mile at peak traffic times safely.
As a result, the sound of a high speed collision has become all too familiar. Having had a modicum of training in emergency first aid, I go running when I hear the sound but typically I can’t even get across the street on foot through traffic to be much help. People, many of very modest circumstances, are losing their vehicles and suffering serious injury. Something must be done.
Upon reflection, I think that the Sterling Heights Police are doing everything they can about this situation, but their hands are tied. There is no existing traffic ordinance preventing left turns out of businesses or the condominium complex onto 15 Mile. There should be. There may well be an argument to be made that left turns from Cavant Drive onto 15 Mile ought to be banned as well. This would personally inconvenience me greatly, but I could work around it if I had to.
It is no secret that 15 Mile and Ryan is one of the most dangerous intersections in the city, topped only by the intersections at 16 Mile and Van Dyke. The problems there may have no easy solution, and I’m not certain 15 and Ryan can be made perfectly safe either, but I’m certain that a change in the traffic laws here would make a big difference.