South Dakota winter driving tips

South Dakota winter driving tips

Driving in South Dakota can turn deadly in the wintertime.  More crashes happen in the winter than any other time of the year.  If you drive in South Dakota winters, you may be plagued with roadways that are covered in ice or snow during periods of really cold temperatures.  Or, you could end up driving on roadways that are slick with rain or water when the sun finally comes out and melts all that snow and ice.

Most wintertime crashes occur because people are driving too fast on roads that are in dangerous conditions.  There’s an increase in rear-end collisions due to ice and slippery conditions which make it hard to stop if you’re driving too fast. Don’t assume that your vehicle can handle well in all of these different road conditions.  Even vehicles with four-wheel and front-wheel drive can get into trouble on South Dakota roads in the winter.

Safety, safety, safety

Winter driving in South Dakota is all about being safe.  Paying attention to local weather forecasts for roadway conditions and following some surefire safety tips can really help to keep you safe while driving during the winter months.

Lower your speed, and leave yourself at least three times more space between you and the car in front of you.  If you should need to slow down or stop, brake gently to avoid skidding. If you should begin to skid, ease off the gas and turn into the skid.

Make sure that your tires are properly inflated, and use a low gear to improve your car’s traction, especially on hills. Don’t use cruise control when you’re driving in wet, icy, snowy, or other slippery road conditions.

Pay attention to the road at all times.  This means avoiding any distractions such as texting, eating, or calling on your cell phone while you’re driving.  Never drive in dangerous winter conditions when you’re experiencing fatigue.

Always keep at least a ½ of a tank of gas in order to prevent your vehicle’s gas line from freezing, and make sure that your exhaust pipe is free from snow, ice, or mud. Keep an emergency survival kit in your car at all times, and make sure your cell phone is fully charged.

Most importantly, if you get stranded while traveling, remain inside your vehicle. Don’t try to find help in a severe storm or blizzard because you could get lost. Turn on the engine for brief periods of time in order to heat up your vehicle.   From time to time, move your appendages to keep the blood circulating.

What to do if you’re in an accident

The best safety tip is to stay at home when winter weather makes for dangerous road conditions unless it’s absolutely necessary for you to drive.  But, if you should be involved in a car accident that results in injuries and need to speak with an attorney, the Rapid City law firm of of personal injury attorneys, Greg Yates and Michael Shubeck, have over 40 years of combined experience litigating personal injury cases.

Contact our office to schedule your free consultation.