Locations in Sioux Falls & Mitchell

2023 Guide to Staying Safe on the Road

Alvine Weidenaar, Personal Injury

South Dakota sees just under 18,000 traffic accidents every year. While some accidents are minor, and everyone walks away with minor bumps and bruises, others are more serious or fatal. 

It is important to remember that road safety is everyone’s responsibility. Some tips to help you remain safe and avoid being involved in an accident can be found here. Implementing these driving tips can help you, and everyone on the road safely arrive at your destinations. 

Never Drink and Drive

You should never get behind the wheel after drinking. Each day, 32 people die after an accident with a drunk driver. Drinking alcohol impairs your reaction time and reduces coordination. It also affects your inhibitions, which can cause you to make poor or dangerous choices. If you have had multiple drinks and are significantly intoxicated, it can cause blurred vision and loss of consciousness. 

It is important to remember that driving under the influence does not just describe alcohol. It includes marijuana, opioids, and other drugs that cause impairment, too. You should not put yourself or others on the road at risk. If you are impaired, do not get behind the wheel. 

Know the Effects of Medication 

While illegal drugs are dangerous and should be avoided while driving, over-the-counter and prescription medications can also be dangerous. If you take any medicine, you need to know the side effects and how they will affect you. 

Some medications can lead to drowsiness or fatigue and increase the risk of you falling asleep while driving. 

Even if the medications you take do not cause drowsiness or impair your driving, if combined with others, there could be some dangerous side effects. If you take medications and drink alcohol, the effects can be deadly. 

Invest in Vehicle Maintenance 

While maintaining your vehicle will help it run longer, maintenance is also required to help you stay safe. When you invest in proper maintenance, even a used vehicle can help you stay safe for years. Some states have required safety inspections that must be done each year; however, this is not the case in South Dakota. 

While it is not mandatory, occasionally investing in a vehicle inspection can help you keep your vehicle running safely. Even small issues, like incorrect tire pressure (too low or too high), can cause a blowout and accident. It is best to address issues with your vehicle when you notice them instead of waiting until the situation becomes even more hazardous. 

Avoid Assumptions 

Never assume what another driver on the road will do. While you may know what you would do in a similar situation, other drivers will not always do that. 

For example, a vehicle with its turn signal on may not turn. Because of this, be careful when exiting a driveway. Another example is when you approach an intersection. You cannot assume the other driver will stop, even if they do not have the right of way. 

While everyone should engage in safe driving practices, this is not something that happens. Be alert and pay attention to the other drivers around you. 

Engage in Defensive Driving

Driving defensively is recommended. Aggressive driving significantly increases the potential for accidents. 

Aggressive drivers may cause conflict, flash their high beams at others, or tailgate. All this increases the risk of an accident. 

A defensive driver, on the other hand, knows how to stay safe on the road. When you engage in defensive driving, you are using techniques to help reduce the risk to yourself and others on the road. 

Some characteristics of a defensive driver include the following:

  • Staying aware and understanding that other drivers may act in unpredictable ways. 
  • Stays aware of what the drivers around them are doing. 
  • Keeping a minimum of a two-second cushion between their vehicle and the vehicle ahead of them. 

If you do not know the proper way to drive defensively, it may be time to enroll in a course that will teach you these driving techniques. 

Adjust Your Driving Based on the Weather Conditions 

If you are driving in inclement weather, use the safety tips above. Any adverse weather conditions, including ice, snow, heavy rain, and fog, can greatly impact your safety. 

You need to take additional caution when driving in adverse weather conditions. You should also consider the following things to stay safe:

  • Exercise patience for increased travel time
  • Delegate driving to someone with more experience behind the wheel
  • Maintain additional space between the vehicles
  • Adjust your speed for the conditions

If the weather conditions are too extreme, wait to drive. If you are in flood conditions, you should never drive through floodwaters. When water is moving, it has a lot of power, and how deep the water is may not be obvious. Just six inches of water can cause a person to fall, and a foot of water can carry a vehicle away (even SUVs). 

Drive Safely at Night

For many people, reaction times are slower when it is dark outside. Also, depth perception is usually less accurate. 

To stay safe when driving at night, make sure your headlights are aligned to ensure maximum visibility. Make sure you maintain a safe distance behind other vehicles on the road. 

Steps to Take if You Are Involved in a South Dakota Car Accident

You have rights if you are involved in a South Dakota car accident caused by another driver’s negligence. Be sure to gather evidence at the scene and contact a personal injury lawyer. 

At the Alvine Law Firm, we can provide you with the legal representation you need to recover the compensation you are entitled to. Contact our office to schedule a consultation to discuss your situation and case. 

We understand the huge impact a car accident can have on your life and want to help you hold the at-fault party responsible for your injuries and losses. We are here to help, call us today. 

Get the help you need today!

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