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.
Arguably the drivers that suffer the most from these conditions are the ones paid to be behind the wheel. Despite the advantages a truck driver has over regular motorists around these conditions, there have been several deaths already that prove more precautions need to be taken.
One river, two weeks, three deaths
In late March, a garbage truck driver and a passenger crashed through a guardrail and landed in the James River. This river has been experiencing major flooding ever since the middle of March and has been dropping at a very minimal rate. Officials found their bodies a day after someone reported them missing. The South Dakota Highway Patrol deemed the cause of the accident to be equipment failure.
Just two weeks later, state officials found another dead body in the same river along with a van. The only thing separating him from the water was a barbed-wire fence, which he appeared to crash through. Even though officials label the James River at this point to be at a “moderate flood” stage, the water still remained high and outside the banks.
Preparing for future floods
Some may only cite floods being a major threat when there is water covering the roads, but these deaths prove otherwise. Many flooded areas in the state have weak barriers separating the roads from the water that can easily break from one car alone.
While trucks can handle high waters better than regular cars, truck drivers are very vulnerable in these areas because their vehicles take up so much space on the road. All it takes is one wrong turn to put them in serious trouble. With plenty of rain water, ice, snow storms and potholes present during this season in South Dakota, avoiding that wrong turn becomes a lot more difficult.
If you or a loved one suffer from a major truck injury in the spring, consider contacting a workers’ compensation attorney so you can get what you need to recover from the traumatic experience.