Is it Ever Legal to Speed in Wisconsin?
Even the most careful drivers exceed the speed limit on occasion. Whether accidental or deliberate, however, speeding can have dangerous consequences. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the faster a car travels at the time of the crash, the more likely the collision will prove fatal.
If a speeding driver in Wisconsin injures you, you may be entitled to compensation. Explore the legality and risks of speeding in Wisconsin with Brian Hodgkiss Injury Lawyers.
What is the Legal Definition of Speeding?
Under Wisconsin law, speeding is defined as driving faster than permitted by local law. That means surpassing the posted speed limit in areas with posted speed limits. If there is no posted speed limit, speeding means exceeding:
- 65 MPH on expressways
- 70 MPH on freeways
- 55 MPH on other roads, including unmarked roads
In some circumstances, drivers must travel at “an appropriate reduced speed,” including during bad weather conditions, near street or railway crossings, on hills or curved streets, and when pedestrians are present.
It is also required by Wisconsin’s move-over law, which states that drivers must either change lanes or slow down if they see emergency responders or road maintenance workers on the shoulder of the road. While the appropriate speed is usually determined at the driver’s discretion, you can receive a speeding ticket in these conditions, even if driving at or below the speed limit, if your speed is considered unsafe by law enforcement.
Speeding can also contribute to liability in a car accident. Wisconsin is an at-fault state, meaning that the driver considered responsible for causing a car accident is also responsible for covering the other party’s damages, like car repairs and medical bills.
One of the most common reasons to hire a car accident lawyer is after being wrongly deemed at fault for a crash.
Speeding as a Cause of Accidents
Speeding makes it more challenging to avoid a crash. Cars traveling at high speeds require a longer distance to stop safely. A car at 65 MPH has an approximate stopping distance of 345 feet. Exceeding the speed limit by just 5 MPH increases your stopping distance to 388 feet. A driver may not have enough time to brake if a car, pedestrian, or animal enters their path. Swerving at high speeds can cause the driver to lose control of the vehicle, and neither driver may be able to maneuver quickly enough.
Speeding might seem much safer on the empty roads of rural Wisconsin. However, rural roads are often farther from help, making crashes much more deadly. In 2020, while only 28% of fatal crashes across the nation occurred on rural roads, 62% of Wisconsin’s fatal crashes were on rural roads.
If a speeding-related accident leaves your car totaled and you are seriously injured, a Wisconsin personal injury lawyer can help you recover compensation from the other driver’s insurance company. Money earned in a settlement can be put towards your medical bills and car repairs.
When is it Legal to Speed?
There are no laws in Wisconsin that explicitly permit speeding. However, there are a few situations where you may be able to speed without getting a ticket or putting other drivers at risk. These situations include passing other vehicles and emergencies where the risk of speeding is lower than the risk you would face by not speeding.
- When Passing Other Vehicles
If the road permits passing, you can pass people driving more slowly than you. However, Wisconsin law requires you to obtain a safe distance from the other driver before moving back into the same lane. You can briefly speed to overtake the other vehicle and provide a safe stopping distance, but you must return to the legal speed limit once you merge into your original lane.
- In an Emergency
Residents of rural areas may live a significant distance from a hospital. If someone needs immediate medical attention and can’t wait for an ambulance, it’s acceptable to speed. You may still receive a speeding ticket if an officer pulls you over, but you will have a better chance of successfully fighting it in court.
Victim of a Speeder? Call Us for Help
Driving at fast speeds can have devastating results for everyone involved. If you’ve been badly injured by another driver’s negligent speeding, a personal injury lawyer in Wisconsin, at Brian Hodgkiss Injury Lawyers, can help you recover the compensation you deserve. Contact us today for a free case review.