Stop, stand or park, irrespective of the provisions of this chapter;
Proceed past a red or stop signal or stop sign, but only after slowing down as may be necessary for safe operation;
Disregard regulations governing direction of movement or turning in specified directions.
The exemption granted the operator of an authorized emergency vehicle by sub. (2) (a)
applies only when the operator of the vehicle is giving visual signal by means of at least one flashing, oscillating or rotating red light except that the visual signal given by a police vehicle may be by means of a blue light and a red light which are flashing, oscillating or rotating, except as otherwise provided in sub. (4m)
. The exemptions granted by sub. (2) (b)
apply only when the operator of the emergency vehicle is giving both such visual signal and also an audible signal by means of a siren or exhaust whistle, except as otherwise provided in sub. (4)
Except as provided in sub. (4m)
, a law enforcement officer operating a police vehicle shall otherwise comply with the requirements of sub. (3)
relative to the giving of audible and visual signals but may exceed the speed limit without giving audible and visual signal under the following circumstances:
If the officer is obtaining evidence of a speed violation.
If the officer is responding to a call which the officer reasonably believes involves a felony in progress and the officer reasonably believes any of the following:
Knowledge of the officer's presence may endanger the safety of a victim or other person.
Knowledge of the officer's presence may cause the suspected violator to evade apprehension.
Knowledge of the officer's presence may cause the suspected violator to destroy evidence of a suspected felony or may otherwise result in the loss of evidence of a suspected felony.
Knowledge of the officer's presence may cause the suspected violator to cease the commission of a suspected felony before the officer obtains sufficient evidence to establish grounds for arrest.
A law enforcement officer operating a police vehicle that is a bicycle is not required to comply with the requirements of sub. (3)
relative to the giving of audible and visual signals.
The exemptions granted the operator of an authorized emergency vehicle by this section do not relieve such operator from the duty to drive or ride with due regard under the circumstances for the safety of all persons nor do they protect such operator from the consequences of his or her reckless disregard for the safety of others.
Every law enforcement agency that uses authorized emergency vehicles shall provide written guidelines for its officers and employes regarding exceeding speed limits under the circumstances specified in sub. (4)
and when otherwise in pursuit of actual or suspected violators. The guidelines shall consider, among other factors, road conditions, density of population, severity of crime and necessity of pursuit by vehicle. The guidelines are not subject to requirements for rules under ch. 227
. Each law enforcement agency shall review its written guidelines by June 30 of each even-numbered year and, if considered appropriate by the law enforcement agency, shall revise those guidelines.
Sub. (5) limits the exercise of privileges granted by (2). City of Madison v. Polenska, 143 W (2d) 525, 421 NW (2d) 862 (Ct. App. 1988).
An officer who decides to engage in pursuit is immune from liability for the decision under s. 893.80, but may be subject to liability under sub. (5) for negligently operating a motor vehicle during the chase. A city which has adopted a policy which complies with sub. (6) is immune from liability for injuries resulting from high speed chases. A policy which considered the severity of the crime only in terms of when to strike a vehicle or use road blocks did not comply with sub. (6). Estate of Cavanaugh v. Andrade, 202 W (2d) 290, 550 NW (2d) 103 (1996).
Police civil liability and the law of high speed pursuit. Zevitz. 70 MLR 237 (1987).
Obedience to traffic officers, signs and signals; fleeing from officer. 346.04(1)
No person shall fail or refuse to comply with any lawful order, signal or direction of a traffic officer.
No operator of a vehicle shall disobey the instructions of any official traffic sign or signal unless otherwise directed by a traffic officer.
No operator of a vehicle, after having received a visual or audible signal from a traffic officer, or marked police vehicle, shall knowingly flee or attempt to elude any traffic officer by wilful or wanton disregard of such signal so as to interfere with or endanger the operation of the police vehicle, or the traffic officer or other vehicles or pedestrians, nor shall the operator increase the speed of the operator's vehicle or extinguish the lights of the vehicle in an attempt to elude or flee.
History: 1991 a. 316
Facts showing that officer was driving vehicle equipped with red lights and siren are insufficient to prove that vehicle is "marked" pursuant to (3). State v. Oppermann, 156 W (2d) 241, 456 NW (2d) 625 (Ct. App. 1990).
Intent to elude unmarked police car is difficult to prove since many authorized non-police emergency vehicles resemble such cars; violation of 346.19 is intrinsic to violation of 346.04 (3) [and is easier to prove in such cases]. 65 Atty. Gen. 27.
Unmarked police vehicle displaying red and blue lights isn't marked vehicle for purposes of (3). 76 Atty. Gen. 214
DRIVING, MEETING, OVERTAKING AND PASSING
Vehicles to be driven on right side of roadway; exceptions. 346.05(1)(1)
Upon all roadways of sufficient width the operator of a vehicle shall drive on the right half of the roadway and in the right-hand lane of a 3-lane highway, except:
When making an approach for a left turn under circumstances in which the rules relating to left turns require driving on the left half of the roadway; or
When overtaking and passing under circumstances in which the rules relating to overtaking and passing permit or require driving on the left half of the roadway; or
When the right half of the roadway is closed to traffic while under construction or repair; or
When overtaking and passing pedestrians, animals or obstructions on the right half of the roadway; or
When driving in a particular lane in accordance with signs or markers designating such lane for traffic moving in a particular direction or at designated speeds; or
When the roadway has been designated and posted for one-way traffic, subject, however, to the rule stated in sub. (3)
relative to slow moving vehicles.
Notwithstanding sub. (1)
, any person operating a bicycle may ride on the shoulder of a highway unless such riding is prohibited by the authority in charge of the maintenance of the highway.
The operator of a vehicle actually engaged in constructing or maintaining the highway may operate on the left-hand side of the highway; however, whenever such operation takes place during the hours of darkness the vehicle shall be lighted as required by s. 347.23
Any vehicle proceeding upon a roadway at less than the normal speed of traffic at the time and place and under the conditions then existing shall be driven in the right-hand lane then available for traffic, or as close as practicable to the right-hand edge or curb of the roadway, except when overtaking and passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction or when preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway.
History: 1995 a. 138
See s. 346.59
for minimum speed regulation and duty of slow drivers.
Meeting of vehicles.
Operators of vehicles proceeding in opposite directions shall pass each other to the right, and upon roadways having width for not more than one line of traffic in each direction each operator shall give to the other at least one-half of the main traveled portion of the roadway as nearly as possible.
Overtaking and passing on the left.
The following rules govern the overtaking and passing of vehicles proceeding in the same direction, subject to those limitations, exceptions and special rules stated in ss. 346.075 (2)
The operator of a vehicle overtaking another vehicle proceeding in the same direction shall pass to the left thereof at a safe distance and shall not again drive to the right side of the roadway until safely clear of the overtaken vehicle.
Except when overtaking and passing on the right is permitted, the operator of an overtaken vehicle shall give way to the right in favor of the overtaking vehicle on audible signal and shall not increase the speed of the vehicle until completely passed by the overtaking vehicle.
The necessity of an audible warning prior to passing a vehicle applies only to a vehicle passing on the left, since the vehicle given the warning is required by the statute to yield to the right. Bode v. Buchman, 68 W (2d) 276, 228 NW (2d) 718.
Failure to warn before passing was not necessarily causal negligence. Westfall v. Kottke, 110 W (2d) 86, 328 NW (2d) 481 (1983).
Overtaking and passing bicycles and motor buses. 346.075(1)(1)
The operator of a motor vehicle overtaking a bicycle proceeding in the same direction shall exercise due care, leaving a safe distance, but in no case less than 3 feet clearance when passing the bicycle and shall maintain clearance until safely past the overtaken bicycle.
Except as provided in s. 346.48
, if the operator of a motor vehicle overtakes a motor bus which is stopped at an intersection on the right side of the roadway and is receiving or discharging passengers, the operator shall pass at a safe distance to the left of the motor bus and shall not turn to the right in front of the motor bus at that intersection.
When overtaking and passing on the right permitted.
The operator of a vehicle may overtake and pass another vehicle upon the right only under conditions permitting such movement in safety and only if the operator can do so without driving off the pavement or main-traveled portion of the roadway, and then only under the following conditions:
When the vehicle overtaken is making or about to make a left turn; or
Upon a street or highway with unobstructed pavement of sufficient width to enable 2 or more lines of vehicles lawfully to proceed, at the same time, in the direction in which the passing vehicle is proceeding; or
Upon a one-way street or divided highway with unobstructed pavement of sufficient width to enable 2 or more lines of vehicles lawfully to proceed in the same direction at the same time.
History: 1991 a. 316
Limitations on overtaking on left or driving on left side of roadway. 346.09(1)
Upon any roadway where traffic is permitted to move in both directions simultaneously, the operator of a vehicle shall not drive to the left side of the center of the roadway in overtaking and passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction unless such left side is clearly visible and is free of oncoming traffic for a sufficient distance ahead to permit such overtaking and passing to be done in safety. In no case when overtaking and passing on a roadway divided into 4 or more clearly indicated lanes shall the operator of a vehicle drive to the left of the pavement marking indicating allocation of lanes to vehicles moving in the opposite direction or, in the absence of such marking, to the left of the center of the roadway. In no case shall the operator of a vehicle drive in a lane when signs or signals indicate that such lane is allocated exclusively to vehicles moving in the opposite direction.
Upon any roadway where traffic is permitted to move in both directions simultaneously, the operator of a vehicle shall not drive on the left side of the center of the roadway upon any part of a grade or upon a curve in the roadway where the operator's view is obstructed for such a distance as to create a hazard in the event another vehicle might approach from the opposite direction.
The operator of a vehicle shall not drive on the left side of the center of a roadway on any portion thereof which has been designated a no-passing zone, either by signs or by a yellow unbroken line on the pavement on the right-hand side of and adjacent to the center line of the roadway, provided such signs or lines would be clearly visible to an ordinarily observant person.
Other provisions of this section notwithstanding, the operator of a vehicle shall not overtake and pass on the left any other vehicle which, by means of signals as required by s. 346.34 (1)
, indicates its intention to make a left turn.
When passing at a railroad crossing, intersection, bridge, viaduct or tunnel prohibited. 346.10(1)
The operator of a vehicle shall not overtake and pass any other vehicle proceeding in the same direction when approaching within 100 feet of or traversing any railroad crossing unless the roadway is of sufficient width for 2 or more lines of vehicles to lawfully proceed simultaneously in the direction in which such vehicle is proceeding or unless permitted or directed by a traffic officer to pass at such crossing.
Subject to the exception stated in sub. (3)
, the operator of a vehicle shall not overtake and pass any other vehicle proceeding in the same direction when approaching within 100 feet of or traversing any intersection unless the roadway is marked or posted for 2 or more lines of vehicles moving simultaneously in the direction in which such vehicle is proceeding or unless permitted or directed by a traffic officer to pass at such intersection.
Outside of a business or residence district, the restrictions which sub. (2)
places upon passing at an intersection apply only if such intersection has been designated by an official traffic sign or signal, regardless of whether such sign or signal was intended to guide, direct, warn or regulate traffic.
The operator of a vehicle shall not overtake and pass any other vehicle proceeding in the same direction when the view is obstructed upon approaching within 100 feet of any bridge, viaduct or tunnel unless the roadway is of sufficient width for 2 or more lines of vehicles to lawfully proceed simultaneously in the direction in which such vehicle is proceeding or unless permitted or directed by a traffic officer to so overtake and pass.
History: 1989 a. 105
Passing or meeting frightened animal.
Whenever a person riding, driving or leading an animal which is frightened gives a signal of distress to the operator of a motor vehicle by a raising of the hand or otherwise, the operator of the motor vehicle shall promptly stop the vehicle unless a movement forward is necessary to avoid an accident or injury and shall, upon request, stop all motive power until such animal is under control.
History: 1991 a. 316
Driving through safety zones prohibited.
The operator of a vehicle shall not at any time drive through or over a safety zone when such safety zone is clearly indicated.
Driving on roadways laned for traffic.
Whenever any roadway has been divided into 2 or more clearly indicated lanes, including those roadways divided into lanes by clearly indicated longitudinal joints, the following rules, in addition to all others consistent with this section, apply:
The operator of a vehicle shall drive as nearly as practicable entirely within a single lane and shall not deviate from the traffic lane in which the operator is driving without first ascertaining that such movement can be made with safety to other vehicles approaching from the rear.
Upon a 2-way roadway which is divided into 3 lanes the operator of a vehicle shall not drive in the center lane except when overtaking and passing another vehicle where the roadway is clearly visible and such center lane is clear of traffic within a safe distance, or in preparation for a left turn, or where such center lane is at the time allocated exclusively to traffic moving in the direction the vehicle is proceeding and is marked or posted to give notice of such allocation.
Notwithstanding sub. (2)
, when lanes have been marked or posted for traffic moving in a particular direction or at designated speeds, the operator of a vehicle shall drive in the lane designated.
History: 1991 a. 316
In calculating time required to safely execute deviation from traffic lane or turn at intersection driver must consider condition of highway. See note to 895.045, citing Thompson v. Howe, 77 W (2d) 441, 253 NW (2d) 59.
Distance between vehicles. 346.14(1)
The operator of a motor vehicle shall not follow another vehicle more closely than is reasonable and prudent, having due regard for the speed of such vehicle and the traffic upon and the condition of the highway.
Upon a highway outside a business or residence district, the operator of any motor truck with a gross weight of more than 10,000 pounds or of any motor vehicle which is drawing or towing another vehicle where the combined gross weight is more than 10,000 pounds shall do all of the following:
Keep the vehicle he or she is operating at a distance of not less than 500 feet to the rear of any vehicle immediately preceding it, being driven in the same direction.
Leave sufficient space so that an overtaking vehicle may enter and occupy such space without danger.
This subsection does not apply upon any lane especially designated for use by motor trucks or by truck tractor-semitrailer or tractor-trailer units nor does it apply when overtaking and passing another vehicle, but the fact that the operator of any vehicle or combination of vehicles mentioned in this subsection follows the preceding vehicle more closely than 500 feet for one mile or more or follows more closely than 500 feet when the preceding vehicle is moving at the maximum speed then and there permissible for such following vehicle is prima facie evidence that the operator of such following vehicle is violating this subsection.
History: 1987 a. 27
; 1989 a. 105
Sub. (1) not only imposes a duty upon the tailgating driver to the driver of the preceding vehicle, but to all other cars and persons who are causally affected by the negligence of tailgating. Northland Ins. Co. v. Avis Rent-A-Car, 62 W (2d) 643, 215 NW (2d) 439.
This section does not impose upon driver absolute liability to avoid accidents. Millonig v. Bakken, 112 W (2d) 445, 334 NW (2d) 80 (1983).
Driving on divided highway.
Whenever any highway has been divided into 2 roadways by an intervening unpaved or otherwise clearly indicated dividing space or by a physical barrier so constructed as to substantially impede crossing by vehicular traffic, the operator of a vehicle shall drive only to the right of such space or barrier and no operator of a vehicle shall drive over, across or within any such space or barrier except through an opening or at a crossover or intersection established by the authority in charge of the maintenance of the highway, except that the operator of a vehicle when making a left turn to or from a private driveway, alley or highway may drive across a paved dividing space or a physical barrier not so constructed as to impede crossing by vehicular traffic, unless such crossing is prohibited by signs erected by the authority in charge of the maintenance of the highway.