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Butte County Personal Injury Blog

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.

Lawsuit demonstrates newer roads aren’t always safe

The reason so many motorists receive warnings about roads in rural areas is because they often lack proper maintenance. Construction primarily focuses on streets near larger cities, so anyone speeding through the rough countryside has a higher chance of hitting a pothole or veering into a ditch off the borderless road. They also receive warnings on driving slower when construction does happen on a road so they can avoid crashing into one of the workers, machines or many signs occupying the area.

When a street is all fixed and there are no workers or construction signs in sight, you would think you would no longer have to worry about an accident from faulty road conditions. Unfortunately, there are some instances where construction workers can rush to complete their job early so they no longer have to hear complaints from the hundreds of people who want to use the road. Any oversights they make during the finalization of the road can be costly, as demonstrated by the recent story of a young man in South Dakota forced to deal with a permanent spine injury potentially because of one contractor’s mistake.

Sharing the road with snow plows

November in South Dakota means snow is just around the corner. Snowy and icy roads require extra safety precautions, including reduced speed, caution on bridges and keeping a good distance from other vehicles.

Motorists not only need to adjust their driving behaviors according to weather conditions but also be mindful when sharing the road with snow plows.

Common areas for accidents on the farm

Farmers in South Dakota are rushing to get their work done in the fall to make sure their crops are good for the holidays and to prepare their land for the winter. This also means that it is one of the more dangerous seasons of the year for them as their quicker work approach can lead to some serious accidents.

Farming is one of the deadliest occupations in the nation with the amount of safety hazards in and outside of the fields. Combine this with some locations not providing sufficient training or supervision, and a lot of workers can be at serious risk. If you or a loved one are working this physically demanding career field, you should be especially careful around these areas of your workplace.

Wildfire activity is becoming increasingly likely

In the last two years, the media has done extensive coverage on the devastating effect wildfires are having on California. While the Golden State has it the worst, many other western states have been seeing more wildfire activity as of late. Last month, Hot Springs experienced the Vineyard Fire, which spread to about 560 acres and threatened hundreds of residents living in the area.

Unfortunately, recent reports suggest that the fires will continue to become larger and destroy more property. South Dakota ranchers need to become more aware of the issue so they can take as many precautions as they can when protecting their property.

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