South Dakota winters can be brutal and dangerous

On Behalf of | Jan 10, 2019 | Firm News

Chances are, if you decided to settle in South Dakota, you’re a person who loves cold weather and snow. Then again, perhaps you had little to no say in the matter and transferred here because of your job. Either way, if you live in this state, you will likely encounter severe, inclement weather during winter months. If you’re an outdoorsy person, this might be music to your ears, beckoning you to the nearest ski slope.

If the last place you want to be when it’s cold outside is outside, plummeting temperatures and snow might make you want to curl up under a blanket by a warm fireside with a nice, hot cup of cocoa or cider. It’s likely that you’ll have to drive in the snow at some point, however, and when that happens, you’ll want to be cautious and alert; otherwise, you might be at risk for collision, especially if a negligent driver is nearby.

A recipe for disaster

It’s important, no matter what time of year it happens to be, to keep up with maintenance on your vehicle to improve travel safety. Regular inspections, tire rotations and repairs as needed not only help extend the lifespan of your vehicle but also may help you avoid collision. In South Dakota and elsewhere, the following issues are often causal factors in winter accidents:

  • Tire baldness: You can easily test the treads on your tires by using a penny. Bald tires have no grip ability and can easily cause a vehicle to spin out of control on slippery roads.
  • Sloppy windshields: Not every driver takes the time to make sure his or her windshield is completely free of snow and ice before getting behind the wheel in winter. Poor visibility from a dirty windshield greatly increases the risk for collision.
  • Lack of skill to navigate icy roads: If a driver doesn’t know how to turn into a skid or doesn’t realize how difficult it can be to use brakes, turn or travel in reverse in icy conditions, he or she is at risk, and so is every pedestrian or motorist nearby.

Winter collisions often involve multiple vehicles. If an initial crash occurs between two cars, the situation may quickly become worse if other vehicles are unable to stop in time to avoid the crash scene. Sadly, many winter collisions result in fatalities.

Where to seek support in the aftermath of a winter accident

If you’re involved in a collision, your highest priority is to obtain immediate medical attention after the crash, even if it doesn’t appear that you have suffered a life-threatening injury. Moderate injuries can cause partial or full disabilities, and you may need specialized care to obtain as full a recovery as possible.

The financial implications of a winter collision can also be quite burdensome, which is why state law allows accident victims to seek legal accountability against the drivers whose negligence caused their injuries.

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