SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — The Thanksgiving holiday is one of the most dangerous for drivers in South Dakota, according to the state department of transportation’s 2022 crash report.
From 2013 through 2022 there were 2,272 crashes over the holiday. Crashes include 16 fatal crashes and 19 people died in those crashes. There were 295 injury crashes with 404 injuries in those crashes.
AAA estimates that at least 181,000 South Dakota residents will travel 50 miles or more this Thanksgiving. An estimated or about 162,000 will be traveling by vehicle. In comparison, about 100,000 residents were estimated to be traveling on the road on July 4.
The state had 22 fatal crashes with 29 fatalities over the July 4 holiday from 2013 through 2022. There were a total of 1,345 crashes during that same period.
Generally, there are more motor vehicle traffic crash fatalities during holiday periods than during non-holiday periods due to increased travel time, more alcohol use, and excessive driving speed, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
The public hears many updates about the weather for the Thanksgiving holiday, but when it comes to vehicle crashes, including fatalities, most happen on dry pavement, according to the SDDOT.
The SDDOT report for 2022 shows 74% of all crashes, not just holiday crashes, and 80% of all fatal crashes happened on dry pavement. Seventy-seven percent of all injury crashes happen on dry pavement as well as 73% of all damage crashes.
South Dakota has 7,720 miles of state-owned highways to travel on this Thanksgiving holiday, according to the SDDOT. These include 679 miles of Interstate highways in South Dakota, 2,469 miles designated as U.S. highways in South Dakota and 4,572 miles designated as South Dakota state highways.
The American Society of Civil Engineers said in its 2021 report card on state infrastructure that 35% of South Dakota’s roads were in good or poor condition.
There are at least 73,000 miles of city, county and township owned roads in the state but those carry less than 20% of the traffic.