As many people know, Kalamazoo isn’t the best city to drive in; but is it the worst? Throughout my many drives in the Midwest, I’ve come to the conclusion that good drivers might not necessarily exist. I used to say everyone is a bad driver in their own right, after all, we are all essentially just adjusting our driving to how others on the road are acting. Or perhaps it has something to do with the fact that one of Michigan’s running jokes is “Our state flower is the traffic cone”. 

Though it is seen as a joke, it’s an accurate one. When driving anywhere in Michigan you have to take construction into consideration when estimating your travel time. While you are prepared to swerve along the road to avoid pot holes, road closures and detours are a constant summer occurrence in Michigan. Travel time can vary significantly if you aren’t prepared for the possibility of detours, but on the other hand, nowhere knows backroads like Southwestern Michigan. 

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Traffic Here Is A Zoo

No matter the time; whether you’re off to work in the morning, running errands in the early afternoon, or heading out for that end of the day drink, you are most likely going to encounter Kalamazoo traffic. Here in Kalamazoo, the biggest issue seems to be that everyone is just always in a hurry. Now listen, I’m not a morning person like so many others, but that doesn’t mean that I choose to leave my driveway like a NASCAR driver in order to get to where I’m going on time. Since moving back to Kalamazoo, I have witnessed more car accidents in three months than I did driving in U.P. winter for FIVE YEARS.

Giving Southwest Michigan the benefit of the doubt, part of me wonders if the reason drivers are in such a hurry is because we are close to Chicago, IL and have those driving influences. In all the states I have driven in, nowhere views the speed limit like a suggestion more than Chicago. Could this speed influence impact the driving practices of Kalamazoo? Then again, Kalamazoo is the only city I’ve seen someone’s engine burst into flames in the middle of Gull Road. 

"Weather" You Like It or Not

In addition to speed and construction, people of Kalamazoo also have weather to think about when driving. Michigan is known for experiencing each season in a single day, which can make driving quite difficult. I’ve noticed that in Kalamazoo people either drive just as fast as normal, or slower than ever before; there is no in-between when snow starts falling.

When you compare these few obstacles Michigan drivers face to other states, you might stop to ask yourself why Kalamazoo is being considered one of the worst cities to drive in. However, to Michigan's defense, the state of Missouri doesn’t even require driver’s training; It’s actually pretty difficult to find the course if you wanted to.

With states that don’t make learning the rules and regulations of the road before being able to legally drive, Michigan driving is starting to look a little better. 

Despite obstacles like unpredictable weather, construction, or general rush of traffic, Kalamazoo and its nearing counties reported less crashes than a quarter of the state's counties in 2020. With all of these conditions, do you think Kalamazoo is one of Michigan’s worst cities to drive in? 

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