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Left Turn Right of Way

In Wisconsin left turn right of way goes to the oncoming car and the car making a left turn must yield and only proceed when its safe. See Wisconsin Statute Sec. 346.18 (2) TURNING LEFT OR MAKING A U-TURN AT INTERSECTION. The operator of a vehicle within an intersection intending to turn to the left or make a U-turn shall yield the right-of-way to any vehicle approaching from the opposite direction. See Wisconsin Civil Jury Instructions:

1195 RIGHT OF WAY:  LEFT TURN AT INTERSECTION

The Wisconsin statutes define "right of way" as the privilege of the immediate use of the roadway and, further provide, that the driver of a vehicle within an intersection intending to turn to the left across the path of any vehicle approaching from the opposite direction shall yield the right of way to that vehicle.

The word "approaching" involves a concept of nearness in space and time.  An automobile is approaching an intersection when it is not so far distant from the intersection that, considering the speed at which it is traveling, it is reasonable to assume that a collision will occur if the driver of the automobile intending to turn left undertakes to do so by changing the course of the automobile from the right lane, across the center line, and into the path of the oncoming automobile.

However, there's big exception. If the oncoming car is speeding, he may lose for forfeit his 'right of way' as stated in Wisconsin Statute Sec. 346.18 (1) GENERAL RULE AT INTERSECTIONS.  ... when 2 vehicles approach or enter an intersection at approximately the same time, the operator of the vehicle on the left shall yield the right-of-way to the vehicle on the right. The operator of any vehicle driving at an unlawful speed forfeits any right-of-way which he or she would otherwise have under this subsection. 

Both drivers need to keep a careful lookout, which the jury instruction explains:

1055 LOOKOUT

A driver must use ordinary care to keep a careful lookout ahead and about him or her for the presence or movement of other vehicles, objects, or pedestrians that may be within or approaching the driver's course of travel.  In addition, the driver has the duty [to use ordinary care] to lookout for the condition of the highway ahead and for traffic signs, markers, obstructions to vision, and other things that might warn of possible danger.  The failure to use ordinary care to keep a careful lookout is negligence.

McCormick Law Office gets the best attorney results when the facts support a theory of negligence consistent with our client's having the left turn right of way, which can a witness or expert dependent.

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