Like other states, Wisconsin has what is called a basic speed law. While many residents of Northeast Wisconsin might not think of it, the posted speed limits they see are actually limits for ideal road conditions. In other words, the speed on the sign is the speed one can legally travel when the weather is clear, the surface is flat, paved and level and there is relatively light traffic.
Wisconsin motorists have a separate legal obligation to observe what is commonly called the basic speed limit. The basic speed limit requires all drivers to use what is called a reasonable and prudent speed. This means that when the weather is bad or there is a particular hazard on the road, like snow or ice, for example, then drivers must slow down enough to account for the conditions.
Another provision of Wisconsin’s basic speed law specifically requires drivers in this state to slow down under certain circumstances. For instance, drivers have to slow down whenever children are around or when coming upon workers alongside the road, even if there is no marked construction zone.
The basic speed law illustrates an important point with respect to Northeast Wisconsin car accidents. That point is that if a driver is operating too fast and causes an accident, he or she may be held accountable for the injuries he or she causes. It will not be an excuse that the driver was traveling under the posted speed limit, as the driver has an obligation to adjust his or her speed enough to avoid an accident.
Someone who is a victim of a Northeast Wisconsin accident due to a driver who was just going too fast may have legal options and should consider speaking to a personal injury attorney.