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South Dakotans should be aware of wind dangers while driving

Drivers are aware of the common dangers faced on the road, but residents of South Dakota and northwest Iowa face something that is unique to the Great Plains. Wind acts as an invisible danger to drivers along the I-29 and I-90 corridors, making South Dakota and Iowa among the top five windiest states in the country.

High winds resulted in the deaths of 54 people in 2014, according to the National Weather Service. The relatively flat geography east of the Missouri River allows for unbroken, high-speed winds to blow across the plains. While the wind carves its own path, drivers are forced to adjust on the same roads.

With the interstate speed limit now at 80 mph in South Dakota, drivers have little room for error when faced with high winds. Drivers who take their attention away from the road for just a few seconds could put themselves at risk of losing control of the vehicle. Operators of small vehicles, especially, should be aware of the potential for air turbulence or cross-winds as they pass semi-trucks on the interstate.

Temporary loss of control can result in overcorrecting

Although drivers cannot control the weather, they can control their behavior and reactions behind the wheel. Overcorrecting, also known as over steering, can result in loss of control of the vehicle. Young, inexperienced drivers are more prone to overcorrecting, but any driver who is faced with a momentary "panic situation" can overreact.

If a vehicle suddenly swerves, drivers should avoid jerking the wheel or braking suddenly. This behavior can cause loss of control of the vehicle and create a hazard for other drivers who may be unprepared to stop suddenly. Instead, drivers should ease off the gas pedal to reduce speed and use the momentum of the vehicle to maintain direction.

The "easy off" approach to avoid overcorrecting can be used by drivers in any season or any weather. Drivers and passengers who are hurt in motor vehicle accidents due to another driver's error or an act of God can seek compensation for injuries.

A personal injury attorney works to determine fault or liability in an auto accident and can be used in addition to an insurance claim to costs. Although the wind can blow in many directions, injured drivers are always able to seek the help of an attorney after an accident.

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