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Butte County Personal Injury Blog

Safe driving in the aftermath of a tornado

Even though the Midwest gets some of the coldest temperatures during the winter, many residents agree that summer is one of the most dangerous seasons of the year. Not only is there a significantly higher motor vehicle related fatality rate between June and August, but there is a good chance many homeowners might lose their homes from a chaotic natural disaster.

While most tornado activity is at its peak during the early summer months, there have still been recent sightings in South Dakota and Wyoming in late July. It's crucial for drivers to find the closest shelter to them to take cover until the storm dissipates. However, once you get word that the storm is gone, that doesn't mean the danger isn't. There are still several hazards you need to prepare yourself for as you begin heading home.

Drunk driving is a major issue for Fourth of July festivities

Independence Day is one of the most anticipated holidays for many families in South Dakota. Parents get to spend time off with their kids and celebrate with some fun outdoor activities. Plenty of people throughout the state are planning trips to their cabins, getting some meat for the barbecue and scouting out some potential spots to watch fireworks at night.

Unfortunately, many of them don't know that they might end up spending the Fourth of July in a hospital. This national holiday is notorious for its high DUI rate, which means you may end up sharing the same roads as some reckless and intoxicated individuals. It is important to be aware of how dangerous driving can get around this holiday week and where you'll likely encounter these irresponsible motorists.

What should be included in a wildfire emergency kit?

May is Wildfire Awareness Month in South Dakota. Due to the cool and wet conditions the state has been experiencing within the last few months, not many ranchers are expecting any major fire disasters within the next couple of weeks. However, just last month, the High Plains Fire burned over 100 acres in the Black Hills. Ranchers need to be prepared no matter what month of the year it is.

If a fire breaks out on your property, you won’t have a lot of time before it engulfs your house. You need to get out fast, but you also can’t leave empty-handed. Once you’re safely off your property, who knows if and when you’ll have a home to go back to? After figuring out what part of your house is the best place to put an emergency kit, here are some items you should consider placing within it or near it.

Is it safe to drive an ATV on the highway?

Taking your all-terrain vehicles out on the weekend can be a fun way for the whole family to unwind. There’s something about driving on a bumpy path that makes it more entertaining than just driving your car. If the trail is a few miles away from your house, you might consider just driving your ATV right there.

Taking your ATV on the road, however, is incredibly dangerous. You should know why it is risky to drive your ATV on public streets and how to keep your family safe on them.

Spring floods cause multiple truck driver deaths

Most people tend to associate floods with the late summer and early fall months due to hurricane season. While South Dakota residents are fortunate enough not to get hurricanes crashing through their neighborhoods, they aren’t immune from excessive water putting the roads in danger. The main difference is that most of the floods you should worry about here happen in the spring.

Even though winter is over, there is still plenty of snow and ice that is melting in the Midwestern states. Combine that with the amount of rain we get from March to May and you won’t be seeing those high waters go lower for a while.

Wildfires are still possible during the winter months

In the last few years, the nation has questioned when the “wildfire season” truly happens. A decade ago, most would tell you that it typically happens in the late summer and early autumn months. People often cite hot temperatures, dry conditions and frequent lightning strikes as the main causes in many devastating wildfires.

These days, more states are becoming aware of how high the chances are for wildfires are for the whole year. California’s multiple disastrous wildfires in 2018 is a prime example of how they can happen just about any time during the year. Even though California has a significantly different environment from South Dakota, local ranchers shouldn’t assume that they can rest easy once it gets colder outside. They need to be aware of the potential risks that can cause wildfires during the winter.

Truck driver error causes truck accidents

An accident on the highway is a scary and life-altering experience for any of us and even more so when a truck is involved. Because of their massive size and weight, cars don't stand a chance when up against a truck in an accident. According to the IIHSHLDI (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety; Highway Loss Data Institute), approximately 4,000 fatalities occur each year nationwide in truck-related crashes.

In the past decade, the United States has seen an increase of 20 percent in the occurrence of truck-related accidents, and trucking fatalities are at their highest level in 29 years. Overall, the traffic fatality rate has shown a decrease, but fatalities involving trucks have increased.

Over 60% of South Dakota teens admit to texting behind the wheel

We’ve all seen it while we’re driving, the person in the car next to you or behind you is looking down, eyes off the road, hand on their phone. Phone use and distracted driving is risky driving behavior with serious consequences. Distracted driving crashes kill thousands of people each year.

Distractions behind the wheel can be anything that takes your attention from the task at hand–a meal, your GPS or other passengers. But according to the Centers for Disease Control, texting while behind the wheel is the most dangerous. Texting combines three dangerous factors–it takes your eyes off the road, your hands off the wheel and your attention from driving. When you send a text while traveling at 55 MPH, you cover the span of a football field in that five seconds–plenty of time to cause an accident.

‘Tis the season to be distracted

The holiday season is here. With the rising prices in airline tickets and amount of drivers on the road, families should expect plenty of traffic to be in their way on their route to Grandma’s house. Many of the cars on the road will be filled with people too tired or drunk to be behind a steering wheel, but they are far from the only threat present.

The Washington Post recently put out an article highlighting the dramatic increase in distracted driving over the holidays. They cite statistics from driving apps that state that there could be around a 33 percent increase in distracted driving around Christmas and New Year’s. If you plan on traveling during the holidays, you need to be aware of these dangerous driving behaviors so you can look out for negligent motorists and avoid getting distracted yourself.

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