Attorney David J. King


3 top causes of South Dakota crashes are largely within your control

On Behalf of | Jun 7, 2023 | Car Accidents

Every year, there are thousands of car crashes in South Dakota, and the possibility of a collision exists wherever there are motor vehicles. Crashes occur every day of the week and every time of day for a seemingly endless list of reasons. Drivers can make many minor mistakes that lead to collisions, including failing to use their turn signals. Especially when multiple parties make mistakes while in proximity to each other, the possibility of a collision increases significantly.

People do have to accept that some small degree of crash risk is inherent in driving or riding in a motor vehicle. Still, according to a report analyzing crashes in South Dakota, three of the most common underlying causes of crashes are largely preventable.

Alcohol and drug consumption

Impaired driving has been one of the top causes of South Dakota collisions since the government began tracking collisions statistics. Almost one in four deadly crashes (24.7%) in South Dakota in 2020 were the result of alcohol intoxication. Some impaired driving cases go undetected because the police department doesn’t always have the systems in place to test for drugs beyond alcohol and the most common street drugs. Motorists can both control their own choices about when they drive and watch carefully for signs of impairment in others.


Many collisions occur because someone doesn’t properly monitor their surroundings. Distraction may come in the form of a mobile phone, as people may not be able to ignore the siren song of a new message notification. Other passengers in the vehicle can also be a distraction, as can singing along for the radio. Having a cup of coffee or eating a meal while driving are also dangerous distractions that noticeably increase an individual’s chance of causing a crash. With so many types of distraction possible, it is a little surprise that distracted driving is one of the top reasons for collisions.

Excess speed

In quite a few collisions, drivers who cause crashes did not abide by the posted speed limit. Other times, they may fail to adjust their driving behavior, including their traveling speed, to reflect unusual weather conditions, like slick roads during a rain storm. Speeding may diminish someone’s ability to properly monitor their surroundings and to respond quickly enough to avoid a crash when something unexpected happens.

Motorists who recognize that they have to consistently make safe choices every time they drive can potentially reduce their personal risk of causing a crash. Identifying and avoiding high-risk traffic behaviors could potentially save someone’s life.