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Automobile Collisions / Workers' Compensation

414-272-3636 877-412-7409

Duty of Drivers on Icy Roads

The duty of drivers on icy road accidents in Wisconsin always a question.  The accumulation of ice on the highway does not excuse drivers from being careful. When the first nasty snow and sleet whips up on a December night and we're traveling down I94 from Waukesha to Milwaukee for a basketball game, we have all seen drivers ignore the dangerous conditions and recklessly speed by.  If they cause an accident are they negligent?  Icy road collisions cause medical bills, wage loss, pain and suffering.

First, Wisconsin law states a driver must use ordinary care to keep his or her vehicle under proper management and control so that when danger appears, the driver may stop the vehicle, reduce speed, change course, or take other proper means to avoid injury or damage.  If a driver does not see or become aware of danger in time to take proper means to avoid the accident, the driver is not negligent as to management and control.  When driving in a snow storm, a driver cannot claim he is not aware of the dangerous road conditions.

If the bad driver tries to claim the icy roads were an emergency reducing his responsibility, Wisconsin law states when you consider negligence as to management and control, bear in mind that a driver may suddenly be confronted by an emergency, not brought about or contributed to by his negligence. If that happens and the driver is compelled to act instantly to avoid collision, the driver is not negligent if he makes a choice of action or inaction that an ordinarily prudent person might make if placed in the same position. This is so even if it later appears that his choice was not the best or safest course.  This rule does not apply to a person whose negligence wholly or in part created the emergency. A person is not entitled to the benefit of this emergency rule unless he is without fault in creating the emergency.  The law considers this emergency rule only when you determine whether the driver was negligent as to management and control.  The emergency defense does not apply to speeders.  So can someone be speeding when they are going at or below the speed limit?

Yes, Wisconsin law provides that a driver must drive at an appropriate reduced speed when special hazards exist by reason of weather or highway conditions. Appropriate reduced speed means less than the otherwise lawful speed.

McCormick Law Office attorneys get the best results in Milwaukee, Wisconsin cases involving drivers claiming an emergency when its clear they should have reduced their speed due to icy road conditions.  Believe in better.

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Milwaukee, WI 53202

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